Jen is a key concept in Confucianism, and refers to the generous, good-hearted way one should act towards others without anticipation of any reward. The golden rule of Jen is “do unto others are you would have them do to you” (p.20, Sources of Chinese Tradition). This rule is known as Chung, the positive side of Jen. The negative side of Jen, called Shu, is expressed through the saying, “Do not do to others what you do not wish yourself” (p.20, Sources of Chinese Tradition). The way to achieve Jen is to practice Chung and Shu in equal measure for all five social relationships: father and son, ruler and minister, elder and younger brother, husband and wife, and friend and friend.
Li, meaning etiquette, is a guide to human behavior. Li refers to the way one should practice good manners towards others, for example, learning to be respectful. Ultimately, practicing Jen means having respect for humanity, and practicing Li means showing respect for humanity. Achieving Jen and Li results in Chun-Tzu, perfect behavior and character and the highest form of Jen and Li, which earns noble status for the individual.
Filial piety is another core concept of Confucianism. It refers to the reverence of devotion shown towards family and community elders. Confucius considered elders the best role-models because of their wisdom and life experience. Therefore, filial piety was a means for young people to show gratitude to those... [continues]
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