Confucius and Virtue

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The Word: Shu

One word could garner every stroke of brilliance, every riddle composed and every thought that circled within the most influential sage, Confucius. The word “Shu: never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself,” expresses one rule that any individual could follow and practice (176). It encompasses areas of one’s life like intellect, relationships and behavior, but more importantly it begins to describe the concept of virtue and we can obtain it. In view with Confucius, virtue can be defined as morality possible within an individual. Virtue can be taught through the formation of habit and by respecting those around you as you would expect them to do as well—simultaneously garnering necessary traits such as honor and humanity that satisfy an individual’s life. To further extend the definition of virtue, morality should be defined. However, the exact definition of morality—just like virtue—will forever be contemplated. From Confucius, I gathered a few traits I believe to exemplify morality or Humanity as Confucius describes. One aspect is the ability to recognize what is good and then accomplishing these good things. Just as Confucius states, “Choose what is good and follow it,” comprehension and application in accordance to morality is vital to the definition of virtue (Confucius 72). Since virtue is something we, as erroneous humans, may never be able to obtain or reach, then the way to distinguish it is through experience or daily life. We observe virtue and are able to simply imitate it. Confucius himself exclaims that he “has no hope of meeting a truly virtuous person,” (73). Another aspect to define virtue is through gaining contentment in the individual’s life. Accepting one’s circumstances and finding peace in this leads an individual to Confucius’s Way, or true virtue. If someone had the ability to accept life as its handed to them, then their mind wouldn’t be concerned with things outside of their control. This is...
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