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Confucius Ethic and Daily Life Program

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Topic    : Confucius Ethic 
Date     : 30 September 2007
Time     : 9.15am - 10.30am
Place    : Confucius Institute, Prince of Songkhla University
Lecturer: Ajarn Weng
 
Confucius Mission  : "If we do not live amongst human beings, with whom can we keep company then? And if the world were in pece, there would be no need of me to try to change the present situation!" (Analects XVIII : 6)
 
Learning Objective :  At the end of the lesson, participants will be able to describe the key concept of Confucius Ethic and apply it in daily life.
 
Course Outline: 
- Introduction
- Key concept
- Conclusion
- Q & A
 
Methodolology:
Lecture, Discussion
 
Lecture Note:
1 In studying Confucian ehtics, we will consider fundamental moral questions such as:
1.1 What is the meaning of life?
1.2 Why should we be moral?
1.3 How can we cultivate ourselves so that we can live morally good lives?
 
2.1  Confucian ethics was developed by Confucius (551-479 BC) and other Confucian thinker - Mencius (around 372-289 BC), 4th generation. 
2.2  As they contributed new and great moral insights to what they had inherited from China's rich cultural past.
 
3.1  Confucius, who began the Confucian tradition, was trying to help ancient China (before 479 BC) solve her social problems and conflict.
3.2  In developing and teaching his ethics, he tried to influence the government of his home state (Lu) , and that of other states ( Jin, Wei, Qi etc)   in ancient China (The Spring & Autumn Period: 770-476BC)
 
4.1 We too can learn from Confucius' teaching about moral living within the family and nation and  about the need to cultivate a meaningful life for ourselves and our fellow-citizens.
4.2 In doing so, there will be scope for we discuss how we should apply the basic Confucian principles in the specific circumstances of present-day Thailand (Land of Free).
 
5.1 Confucian ethics is especially suited for living in present-day Thailand.
5.2 In our fast-changing society and competitive way of life, Confucian ethic reminds us of our civilization and teaches us how to develop our spiritual and moral value in the face of undesirable influences.
5.3 Confucian ethic also tolerant of other systems of spiritual belief, and is hereby a unifying force in multi-cultural situation.
 
6.1 In learning Confucian ethics, we must first dicuss and think about it, in order to identify the universal value and
6.2 Decide how exactly they may be applied to our lives in prsent-day Thailand.
6.3 We must then commit ourselves whole-heartedly to living the moral life in accordance with those values. 
 
7. Saying of Confucius or Mencius:
7.1 "In education there should be no class distinction."
(Analects XV : 38)
 
7.2 "I simply never tire of learning nor weary of teaching."
(Mencius IIA : 2)
 
7.3 "If we are not yet able to serve man, how can we serve spiritual beings?" (Analects XI : 11)
 
7.4 "If we do not yet know about life, how can we know about death?" (Analects XI : 11)
 
7.5 "By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice they get to be wide apart." (Analects XVII : 2)
 
7.6 "Is humanity far away? if I really wanted humanity, then it is right at hand." (Analects, VII:28)
 
7.7 " Compassion is the beginning of humanity" (Mencius, IIA: 6)
 
7.8 "The practice of humanity begins with filial and brotherly love" (Analects, I: 2)
 
7.9 "Love your fellow men" (XII: 22)
 
7.10 "The men of ren is the first to tackle difficulties and the last to consider rewards" (VI; 22)
 
7.11 " Be respectful in private life, be serious in handling affairs, be loyal in dealing with others" (XIII:19)
 
7.12 "Ren is rarely associated with smooth, clever talk and an ingratiating manner" (I:3)
 
7.13 "A person of ren practises five things wherever he may be, namely earnestness, magnanimity, truthfulness, alertness and generosity " (XVII:6)
 
7.14 " (Ren) consists in mastering oneself and bringing oneself in line with propriety" (XII: 1)
 
7.15 "A man of ren in establishing his character, helps others to establish theirs...the ability to understand others by what is near to overselves can be called the method of realising ren (VI: 30)
 
7.16 Ren was the distinguishing characteristic of man (Miecius) 
 
7.17 "At 15, I had my mind bent on learning.
At 30, I stood firm.
At 40, I had no doubts.
At 50, I knew the decrees of Heaven .
At 60, my ear could accept the truth with ease.
At 70, I could follow my heart's desire, without going against what was right." (Analects II : 4)
 
7.18  If names are not correct, language does not accord with the truth of things.If language does not accord with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.When affairs cannot be successfully carried out, rites and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly meted out.When punishments are not properly meted out, the people do not know what to do (Analects, XIII:3)
 
7.19 Let the ruler be a ruler. Let the subject (Prime Minister) be a subject (Prime Minister).  Let the father be a father.  Let the son be a son (Analects XII:11)
 
7.20 Do not impose on others what you yourself do no desire (Analects, XV: 24)
 
7.21 A person of humanity, wishing to establish himself, also establishes other people
 
7.22 I am not worried if people do not know me. I will be troubled if I do not know others (Analects, I:16)
 
7.23 Master yourself and return to propriety (Analects, XII: 1)
 
7.24 Respect without propriety becomes tediousness; Caution without propriety become timidity;  Courage without propriety becomes rashness; Forthrightness without propriety becomes rudeness.
 
7.25 The cultivated person helps others to fulfill what is good in them; he does not help them to develop what is bad in them. The petty person does the opposite (Analects, XII:16)

 

7.26 When we see men of worth, we should think of equaling them When we see unworthy men, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves (Analects, IV: 17)

 

7.27     He cultivates himself and thereby brings peace and security to the people  (Analects, XIV: 45)

 

7.28   What can a man do with propriety, if he has not humanity? (Analects, III:3)

 

7.29  Does heaven speak? Yet the four seasons go round and round. The myriad (100) things go on and on. Does heaven speak? (Analects, XVII:19)

 

 

 

* 
 
 
8. Conclusion
8.1 Ren (humanity) is the essence of man's being. It is what makes man moral.
8.2 In practice, it is expressed as love and sympathy for one's fellow beings and goodwill for all things
8.3 Ren is an ideal of perfection as well as a principle of conduct.
 
9. Reference:
Lau D C (Tr.), Confucius: The Analects. Middlesex: Penguin 1979
Lau D C (Tr.), Meicius. Middlesex: Penguin 1970
 
10.  Acknowledgement
Curriculum Development Institute of Singapore
Asociate Professor Porntipa
Prince of Songkhla University Faculty of Liberal Art
Peoples' Republic of China
 
 
 
 

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