ABOUT THIS BOOK
The Analects of Confucius are considered a record of the words and acts of the central Chinese thinker and philosopher Confucius and his disciples, as well as the discussions they held. Written during the Spring and Autumn Period through the Warring States Period (ca. 475 BC - 221 BC), the Analects is the representative work of Confucianism and continues to have a substantial influence on Chinese and East Asian thought and values today.
Since Confucius' time, the Analects has heavily influenced the philosophy and moral values of China and later other East Asian countries as well. Together with the other three volumes of the Four Books, it taught the basic Confucian values including social and ritual propriety, righteousness, loyalty, and filial piety, all centered about the central thought of Confucius – humanity and the "proper man" or "gentleman".
For almost two thousand years, the Analects had also been the fundamental course of study for any Chinese scholar, for a man was not considered morally upright or enlightened if he did not study Confucius' works. The imperial examination, started in the Jin Dynasty and eventually abolished in late Qing Dynasty (early 20th century), emphasized Confucian studies and expected candidates to quote and apply the words of Confucius in their essays.
A particular point of interest lies in Chapter 10 of the book, which contains detailed descriptions of Confucius' behaviors in various daily activities. This has been pointed to by Voltaire and Ezra Pound to show how much Confucius was a mere human. Simon Leys, who recently translated the Analects into English and French, said that the book may have been the first in human history to describe the life of an individual, historic personage. Similarly, Elias Canetti writes: "Confucius' Conversations are the oldest complete intellectual and spiritual portrait of a man. It strikes one as a modern book; everything it contains and indeed everything it lacks is important."
"The Master said, “He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it.”
The Master said, “In the Book of Poetry are three hundred pieces, but the design of them all may be embraced in one sentence ‘Having no depraved thoughts.’”
The Master said, “If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame.
“If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought to be given them by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of shame, and moreover will become good.”
The Master said, “At fifteen, I had my mind bent on learning.
“At thirty, I stood firm.
“At forty, I had no doubts.
“At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven.
“At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ for the reception of truth.
“At seventy, I could follow what my heart desired, without transgressing what was right.”
Mang I asked what filial piety was. The Master said, “It is not being disobedient.”
Soon after, as Fan Ch’ih was driving him, the Master told him, saying, “Mang-sun asked me what filial piety was, and I answered him,-’not being disobedient.’”
Fan Ch’ih said, “What did you mean?” The Master replied, “That parents, when alive, be served according to propriety; that, when dead, they should be buried according to propriety; and that they should be sacrificed to according to propriety.”
Mang Wu asked what filial piety was. The Master said, “Parents are anxious lest their children should be sick.”
Tsze-yu asked what filial piety was. The Master said, “The filial piety nowadays means the support of one’s parents. But dogs and horses likewise are able to do something in the way of support;-without reverence, what is there to distinguish the one support given from the other?”
Tsze-hsia asked what filial piety was. The Master said, “The difficulty is with the countenance. If, when their elders have any troublesome affairs, the young take the toil of them, and if, when the young have wine and food, they set them before their elders, is THIS to be considered filial piety?”
The Master said, “I have talked with Hui for a whole day, and he has not made any objection to anything I said;-as if he were stupid. He has retired, and I have examined his conduct when away from me, and found him able to illustrate my teachings. Hui!-He is not stupid.”
The Master said, “See what a man does.
“Mark his motives.
“Examine in what things he rests."
|Publisher:||Chinese and Eastern Asian Philosophy Press|
|Series:||Confucius Chinese Philosophy Asian Philosophy Eastern Philosophy Daoism Tao Buddhism Zen|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||179 KB|
About the Author
The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. These values gained prominence in China over other doctrines, such as Legalism or Taoism during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – AD 220). Confucius' thoughts have been developed into a system of philosophy known as Confucianism.
Confucius' principles had a basis in common Chinese tradition and belief. He championed strong familial loyalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders by their children (and, according to later interpreters, of husbands by their wives), and the family as a basis for an ideal government. He expressed the well-known principle, "Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself", one of the earlier versions of the Ethic of reciprocity.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
For anyone interested in Chinese philosophy, this one belongs on your Nookshelf