It is expressed through recognition of value and concern for others, no matter their rank or class. Confucius felt that every man regardless of rank should attempt to reach the ideal by leading a virtuous life, by possessing a very noble character, and by doing his duty unselfishly with sincerity and truthfulness. He who is endowed with a good character and divine virtue is a gentleman. Confucius laid down a set of philosophical concepts that defined how a proper gentleman should act.
According to Confucius, the four ideal virtues of a gentleman were filial piety, sincerity, propriety and benevolence. Confucius considered Filial Piety a foundational principle of his philosophy. It’s a prime virtue in the sense that, from the Confucian point of view, it’s the starting point of virtue. Humaneness is the ultimate goal, but it starts with filial piety. Filial piety focuses on sons giving appropriate respect to their parents, and in doing so, supporting the social order of society.
The ideal gentleman was not only aware of his duties to his elders, but also actively fulfilled those duties to the fullest extent Carmichael 2 possible. Confucian viewpoint holds that “kinship love” is the source of all the other qualities of the “ideal person” ; when kinship love is genuinely ingrained n one’s heart, all the other qualities will spring from this as their source. Confucius, filial piety was important as a ritual and an attitude because it required genuine desire to respect superiors during their lifetime and even after death through practicing rites to ancestors.
Filial piety was important in Confucius’ time because he emphasized its utility in teaching people how to act and behave towards other family members and society in general. It illustrated the value of virtue, had implications in government authority, and embodied the social hierarchy within the societal structure. The Analects suggest a parallel relationship between father and son to that between ruler and subject: A superior man is devoted to the fundamental. When the root is firmly established, moral law will grow. Filial piety and brotherly respect are the root of humanity.
Not only does filial piety secure virtuous conduct in the individual, it was also seen as vital in securing virtue in the nation as a whole: Analects (1:2 ) “Master You said, Those who in private life behave well towards their parents and elder brothers, in public life seldom show a disposition to resist the authority of their superiors. And for such men starting a revolution, no instance of it has ever occurred. It is upon the trunk that a gentleman works. When that is firmly set up, the Way grows. And surely proper behavior towards parents and elder brothers Carmichael 3 is the trunk of Goodness?. Benevolence, or Jean, is for Confucius what separated gentlemen from normal men. Jean is referred to throughout the Analects as goodness, love and humanity. For someone to achieve benevolence, he needed to be driven by a love for humanity, both for the people around him as well as himself. Benevolence must be something people cultivate within themselves before it can affect their relations with others. The best way to approach benevolence is, putting yourself in the position of others and then treating them accordingly.
Analects (XV:23) ” Never do unto others what you would not like them to do to you. ” For Confucius, acting according to Jean was the goal of human actions and a quality for which all people should strive. According to Confucius, all people have the capacity to be people of Jean mainly because all people are inherently good and thus, capTABLE of operating in a way that is empathetic, humane and full of care for others, we just have to look within ourselves to find it. Analects (VII:29) “The Master said, Is Goodness indeed so far away?
If we really wanted Goodness, we should find it at our very side. ” Propriety, or Lie can also be called, honor, courtesy, and ritual. It is what Confucius believed to be the ideal standard of religious, moral, and social conduct. Propriety consists Of the norms Of proper social behavior as taught to others by fathers, village elders and government officials. Carmichael 4 Analects (XIX:6) “Tug-hiss said, One who studies widely and with set purpose, Who questions earnestly, when thinks for himself about what he heard – such a one will incidentally achieve Goodness. Through ritual forms and rules of propriety, one expresses respect for superiors and enacts his role in society in such a way that he himself is worthy of respect and admiration. Lie governed not just social structure, but also how things ought to have been done. Within I, there is a constant need for betterment and for improving on one’s self. Everything has its place, which makes a much more “harmonious” way of life. It called upon Chinese gentlemen to act according to the rules and etiquette of society. A man who acted with propriety respected the social order and his place within it.
This quality meant acting according to custom, and following the specific overall social rules, but should also use proper etiquette when dealing with individuals based on their place in the social order. Analects (XIV:44) “The Master said, So long as the ruler loves ritual, the people will be easy to handle. ” Confucius felt that superiors should show a good example, and the people will follow and be easier to rule. Sincerity, known as Y”, in Chinese, had a deeper meaning than just being truthful, and is closely related to Lie.
The ideal Chinese gentleman should incorporate sincerity into all his actions; it formed the basis of a moral need to do good works and act in good faith. While pursuing one’s own self-interest is not necessarily bad, Carmichael 5 one would be a better, more righteous person if one’s life was based upon following a path designed to enhance the greater good. Thus an outcome of hi is doing the right thing for the right reason. This means that rather than urging your own selfish interests you should do what is right and what is moral.
Yell is based upon reciprocity, where when people are treated in a kindly matter they will respond in kind and friendly actions. Analects (11:21) “Someone, when talking to Master Gung, said, How is it that you are not in the public service? The Master said, The Book says: Be filial, only be filial and friendly towards your brothers, and you will be contributing to government. ‘ There are other sorts of service quite different from what you mean by ‘service. ‘” The Chinese gentleman’s actions would ideally be guided by a love f virtue and an innate desire to be righteous in society.
To Confucius the perfect Gentleman is one of good moral character and follows the virtues of filial piety, sincerity, propriety and benevolence. The true Gentleman sticks to virtue and always aspires to become better and is driven by a love of humanity. He is dignified, noble, humane, courageous, humble and truthful. The importance is not to strive and make earthly gains such as prizes, rank or medals, but to be composed at all times, a man of principle, not a man of petty gains. The perfect Gentleman was also truly Everett in worship and sincerely respected his father, elders, and his ruler.
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