The Rise Of Virtue: The Sequel

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The Rise of Virtue: The Sequel “When we pick up a copy of The Analects today, whether the Chinese original or an English translation, we must remember that bound books did not exist during Confucius’s lifetime.” In The Open Empire: A History of China to 1800, Valerie Hansen, a professor of History at Yale University, affirms that we must take everything we learn of the tradition of thought in regards to 儒 rú (school of literati) with a grain of salt. Most of what we know of the scholar and his teachings come from The Analects, or 论语 Lun Yu, a compilation of conversations shared with Confucius by his disciples, but The Analects is not actually written by Confucius himself. Today, some historians believe sections of 论语 Lun Yu were not even…show more content…
“During the Spring and Autumn Period the imperial house, with priestly, ritualistic, and diplomatic functions but with diminishing authority, slowly sank out of sight as the local nobles struggled with one another for power.” It was a time when many vassal states fought and contended for control. Survival depended on economic and political coalitions, and productive wealth. For the sake of survival, long walls, amongst other projects, were set up as an instrument of protection not only against aboriginal and nomadic tribes, but also against one another. In Book I of 论语 Lun Yu, “子曰:‘道千乘之国,敬事而信,节用而爱人。使民以时。’” is translated by Lau as, “The Master said, ‘In guiding a state of a thousand chariots, approach your duties with reverence and be trustworthy in what you say; avoid excesses in expenditure and love your fellow men; employ the labor of the common people only in the right seasons.’” “使民以时” or “Employ the labor of the common people only in the right seasons” is integral in an agricultural society. Throughout the Spring and Autumn period, aggressive and avaricious warlords often pulled farmers off their land during critical farming times to utilize them in war or public works projects. The Confucians criticized, and attempted to dissuade these warlords, by discussing virtuous…show more content…
The phrase in Book II of The Analects that says, “子曰:‘为政以德,譬如北晨居其所而众星共之。’”, meaning, “The Master said, ‘The rule of virtue can be compared to the Pole Star which commands the homage of the multitude of stars without leaving its place.’” is a great example of this. This passage also reveal elements of the Daoist concept of 无为 wuwei, as the 儒 Ru suggest of a ruler’s governance by a sheer melodiousness of inner humaneness, with the absence of superfluous, external forces. Subsequently, society was experiencing a decline in ethics and morality. Despite this, Confucians continue to teach 仁 ren, also known as benevolence. In lesson 24 of Book IV of The Analects, the Confucians highlight one of the ways in which Confucius illustrated the benefits of virtue to his disciples, “子曰:‘得不孤,必有邻。’”, which Lau translates as, “The Master said, ‘Virtue never stands alone. It is bound to have neighbours.’”. In this, the school of literati are taught that those equipped with virtues have the power to leverage and impact the development of human

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