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#1 Harmonious Emptiness

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 08:52 AM

Perhaps we could list the Confucian texts here, with some description if possible. I will start with my own limited knowledge here. These can then become additional topics.


The first obviously being The Analects, attributed to Confucius. I'm not sure if there is much debate as to some of Analects being the words of someone else, such as with the later part of The Chuang Tzu. They come from the early Warring States Period, around the same time as the Dao De Jing first appears. Many believe Lao Tzu to have been one of Confucius teachers, Lao Dan, which might explain so much of the similarity in describing Sages and Refined Men (usually translated Superior Man, though I think that has unintended connotations in English, and that it would be better translated/interpreted as Refined Man, since a Refined Man has no need for superiority in the senses that the English word usually has attached to it. One who grasps after superiority would really be a Mean/Inferior Man by Confucian principles - just something worthy of note before the discussion, I believe).

There are also the 7 Appendixes to the I Ching which have been attributed to Confucius, though to attribute all of them to Confucius is highly debatable. Much can be said about them which I hope someone will oblige in doing as my knowledge about them is very slight. They also discuss the character of a Refined Man.

The Doctrine of the Mean[Middle Way], written by Confucius' grandson and Mencius' teacher, Si Zi, also seems to have had a great influence on Daoists.

The Great Learning attributed to Confucius' teachings, has some similarities to the Dao De Jing as well, in speaking of influencing the state by cultivating one's "root." I think this is one of the most explicit descriptions of how Wei Wu Wei actually works, and the role of the Sage in government: to govern without governing is to focus on cultivating one's root(a topic of its own) which will thereby influence the people and state by matter of natural course, as one's virtue will influence all around them, like water seeping through walls. This function also appears in The Analects (ch.6, v.30 for ex.).

The Mencius/Mengzi, said to be a student of Confucius grandson, Si Zi, and of whom there is likely the most known about his life. My knowledge here is also very limited, perhaps somebody has some more basic info to add about Master Meng.


(Just getting the ball rolling here, hoping some people will be able to add other Confucian texts, as I know there are many of which I am unaware but would like to read).
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#2 JustARandomPanda

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 10:03 AM

I'm busy reading The Annalects and was thinking of posting the first chapter along with my thoughts. Unsure if I'll do things similar to the Tao te Ching and Chang Tzu forums or if each chapter I post will stick to a single thread.

If anyone else is busy reading a Confucian (or Confucian-inspired text like from Mencius) feel free to post about it.

#3 lifeforce

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 02:12 AM

A rather controversial figure in Confucianism is Xunzi, who deduced that human nature from the outset is flawed.
Unless humans learn morals, then we are prone to commit evil.

http://www.humanisti...s.org/xunzi.htm

#4 Stosh

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 03:15 PM

I dont believe much is known on Mencius' early life compared to
the oscillations of his popularity. Interesting stuff but a slow read.

#5 Guest_dawei_*

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 12:07 PM

Six Chinese Classics



http://www.acmuller.net/con-dao/




Chinese Philosophical Etext Archive--Pre-Qin Text


http://sangle.web.we...in/pre-qin.html


Confucian Canon

http://www.sacred-te...m/cfu/index.htm

#6 dawei

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 12:09 PM

I guess I was not logged in at the time I posted the above and I was assigned as a guest... if a mod wants to clean up the name on the above post, feel free.

#7 Isimsiz Biri

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 12:14 PM

A rather controversial figure in Confucianism is Xunzi, who deduced that human nature from the outset is flawed.
Unless humans learn morals, then we are prone to commit evil.

http://www.huma.nist...s.org/xunzi.htm


My type of guy. I really liked Xunzi. Thank you for the link. Very good one.
"If one hundred dogs do not bark after it, it is not a wolf."
 
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#8 adept

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 01:31 AM

I'm also enjoying this thread. What a contrast Confucianism is to Buddhism !
For instance, this is from Xunzi:

"The gentleman, knowing well that learning that is incomplete and impure does not deserve to be called fine, recites and enumerates his studies that he will be familiar with them, ponders over them and searches into them that he will fully penetrate their meaning, acts in his person that they will come to dwell within him, and eliminates what is harmful within him that he will hold on to them and be nourished by them. Thereby he causes his eye to be unwilling to see what is contrary to it, his ear unwilling to hear what is contrary to it, his mouth unwilling to speak anything contrary to it, and his mind unwilling to contemplate anything contrary to it. When he has reached the limit of such perfection, he finds delight in it. His eye then finds greater enjoyment in the five colors, his ear in the five sounds, his mouth in the five tastes, and his mind benefits from possessing all that is in the world."

#9 Harmonious Emptiness

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 07:28 PM

I'm also enjoying this thread. What a contrast Confucianism is to Buddhism !
For instance, this is from Xunzi:


For the record, Xunzi was only one teacher in Confucianism. I'd vote that his say is over-ruled by Si Zi and Mencius in terms of the view on inherent virtue. I think Confucius would agree with the Daoist wisdom "attention without becoming obsessed, naturalness without becoming indulgent."

#10 manitou

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:31 PM

Seems like both Mencius and Xunzi are dual. To have belief in a character being good or evil inherently means acknowledging good vs. evil, or dualism. Lao Tzu - or the middle way - Taoism would say man's character just Is.

The Analects are incredible. Each precept is worth 10 pages of wonderful discussion.

Edited by manitou, 22 December 2012 - 02:48 PM.

Joy is the Dao.

-The mysterious dancer in the black cowboy hat-


#11 manitou

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 07:43 AM

[1:2] You Zi said: “There are few who have developed themselves filially and fraternally who enjoy offending their superiors. Those who do not enjoy offending superiors are never troublemakers. The noble man concerns himself with the fundamentals. Once the fundamentals are established, the proper way appears. Are not filial piety and obedience to elders fundamental to the enactment of ren?”

[Comment] The word ren (), is one of the most fundamental concepts in Confucian thought. It has been translated into English as “benevolence,” “altruism,” “goodness”, “humaneness” etc. It is a difficult concept to translate because it doesn't really refer to any specific type of virtue or positive endowment, but refers to an inner capacity possessed by all human beings to do good, as human beings should. It is what makes humans human, and not animals. In earlier iterations of this translation have gone through various transitions: at first I attempted to use a unified English rendering throughout the text. I then pursued a strategy of leaving untranslated, as ren. Now I am presently leaning in the direction of translating the term variously, according to the context, but at present, remnants of all three strategies remain in the text. I intend to eventually sort this out.

In the Chinese “essence-function” 體用 paradigm, ren can be understood as the innate, unmanifest source of all kinds of manifestations of virtuosity: wisdom, filial piety, reverence, courtesy, love, sincerity, etc., all of which are aspects, or functions of ren. Through one's efforts at practicing at the function of ren, one may enhance and develop one's ren, until one may be called a noble man, or even better, a “humane person.” In the Analects, to be called a “humane person” by the Master is an extremely high evaluation, rarely acknowledged for anyone.

『1-3』 子曰。「巧言令色、鮮矣仁。」

It seems to me that the ren (developed here by such practices as familial piety) are a little more difficult to exemplify here in the West. Not many of us practice familial piety any more - in my own family's case, our mother is in an assisted living facility. No doubt the way of familial piety would be for one of us to care for her ourselves; but it was at her insistence that she go into the home, not wanting to burden anyone. This is still not the way of ren - to let others care for our parents. It seems to me that a very good way to promote ren within (although the word wasn't used in the above paragraph) is to become a more humble creature. The idea of 'giving up one's own life', in a sense, to care for our elderly parents, would be the extreme act of humility, and I can see where this act alone would go far to promote humility within. We set all our priorities onto the back burner in order to care for the parent. I was reading elsewhere (perhaps further in Confucius, can't remember) that there is so much more involved than merely providing food and shelter for the elder - it also involves being mindful of our attitude when we're caring for the elder. What expression do we wear on our face? Do we telegraph to the elder that this is all a bother, although we're doing it anyway? This seems to me to be the crux of it - are we doing it with a loving heart? That would be the test, and a loving heart would be the very thing that would forge the humility and remove the 'offending of elders', which the passage also alludes to.
It seems that there are many paths to altruism and humility. Certainly being a good son or daughter and maintaining familial piety would be a very viable path; over a long period of time, it would suffice to knock the tar out of the ego by not putting ourselves first.

Edited by manitou, 23 December 2012 - 07:45 AM.

Joy is the Dao.

-The mysterious dancer in the black cowboy hat-


#12 manitou

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 08:05 AM

[1:15] Zi Gong asked: “What do you think of a poor man who doesn't grovel or a rich man who isn't proud?” Confucius said, “They are good, but not as good as a poor man who is satisfied and a rich man who loves propriety.”


A wonderful thought.

Being able to transcend the apparent inequities of life is a great feat. A poor man who is satisfied anyway has found that his happiness is found not in temporal things, but in his being-ness. a true king. The rich man who loves propriety doesn't need to be proprietary - instead, he realizes the golden mean and lives by propriety because he is in true balance. He no longer needs to demonstrate his riches by flaunting them.
Joy is the Dao.

-The mysterious dancer in the black cowboy hat-


#13 manitou

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 07:57 AM

[1:16] The Master said: “I am not bothered by the fact that I am unknown. I am bothered when I do not know others.”


Fame or adulation is not what the Master is looking for. The fact that he may see something incoherent in another person is an indication to him that there is something within himself that is incoherent and needs further study. By conquering self and knowing one's own self to the core, all others are known. We are all One, despite the differences in our circumstances and histories. When the commonalities of all men are found within one's self, they apply to All.

Edited by manitou, 25 December 2012 - 07:58 AM.

Joy is the Dao.

-The mysterious dancer in the black cowboy hat-


#14 manitou

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 10:16 AM


[2:9] The Master said: “I can talk with Hui for a whole day without him differing with me in any way— as if he is stupid. But when he retires and I observe his personal affairs, it is quite clear that he is not stupid.”


The Buddha mindset is one that is open at all times. Last night I was reading Buddahood Without Meditation by dudjom Lingpa and he talks at some length about the openness of the buddhistic mind. As I read, I was visualizing a donut or a tire, suspended in the air with all thoughts going through it. No reaction, no judgment. Just observation of the thoughts. When this mind is adapted, it's as though it's our choice to reach out and grab concepts or ideas as they go by, rather than react to the concept or ideas. We can find our responses, our words, within the great Void without emotion or reaction controlling what we are to say, if we wish to say anything at all. We can just sit and Be and not react to anything, because the inner work has been done and there are no buttons to be pushed any more. Total freedom, because we are no longer programmed to react in a specific way.

Joy is the Dao.

-The mysterious dancer in the black cowboy hat-


#15 manitou

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:26 AM

2:12] The Master said: “The noble man is not a utensil.”
[Comment] The noble man is not a technician, to be used by others to do a single job. On another level, his mind is not narrowly oriented by a specific task. The junzi thinks broadly and does not limit himself quickly into a certain world-view, and cannot easily be used as a cog in someone else's machine.


This seems to go to the fact that the noble man is not afraid to think outside the box, nor to amend his outlook. His ego is not riding on the fact that his opinion must be right, as he has virtually formed no opinion. This is optimal, but how hard is this to do? It's not that we don't have the means to practice...especially in this day and age. We have access to world news and events 24/7 now - how very easy it is to sit back on the couch and label lawmakers, for example, as a bunch of idiots; particularly those who muck up any progress by forming blocs. But the other side of the coin is that this activity, this calling out of another individual (even on TV) as something totally different than us, is doing us nothing but harm. It reinforces the illusion that we are separate from each other; it makes us seem elevated and makes our egos feel elevated if we can put someone else down. As a personal way of tracking myself (Castaneda's method) I've been paying attention to my thoughts while watching Mitch McConnell or John Boehner doing what they do best.....and it's more telling how much personal work I have to do, because my thoughts immediately go into the gutter and blood shoots out of my eyes when I see either one of them gumming up the works. Back to the drawing boards....

The noble man is not a utensil because he can't be 'used' by another without his consent. His thoughts are based in What Is, and there is no need to buy into someone else's agenda. He is completely his own man.

Joy is the Dao.

-The mysterious dancer in the black cowboy hat-


#16 manitou

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 06:45 AM


[2:14] The Master said: “The noble man is all-embracing and not partial. The inferior man is partial and not all-embracing.”


This seems to go directly to judgment. The inferior man judges what he considers to be good or bad and only embraces that which he considers to be good. But he is cutting off part of himself. By failing to embrace other people and ideas, he is self-limiting. Maybe the word 'love' can be substituted for embracing. The noble man (or sage) would see something of value in every human being and knows how to utilize these tendencies in wu-wei. there is nothing wasted. He is capable of this because he has tamed his ego; his ego no longer rides on a particular point of view being 'right'.

Joy is the Dao.

-The mysterious dancer in the black cowboy hat-





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