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The Ideal Person According to Confucius

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The Ideal Person According to Confucius
April 27th, 2011 There are several things that Confucius taught, but the most important thing of them all was what the ideal person should be. Confucius’ philosophies, which were implemented and stated in his teachings; was that the ideal person was one of good moral character. Confucius believed that this was the foundation for his other beliefs. He also believed that the ideal person was also to have the profound respect for worship and sincerely respected his father and his rulers. Being a servant first teaches an individual how to obey and follow orders. This is why he put so much emphasis on obeying his rulers and his parents. The ideal person was also expected to think for himself, guided by definite rules of conduct. Confucius once said that man was to take "as much trouble to discover what was right as lesser men take to discover what will pay". The twin concepts of “jen” and “li” are often said to constitute the basis of Confucianism. Jen is defined as human heartedness, goodness, benevolence, and that which gives human beings their humanity. Li is defined as principle of gain, benefit, order, and the concrete guide to human action. Li has two basic meanings; the first one is the concrete guide to human relationships or rules of proper actions that embody jen. The second is the general principle of social order or also called the general ordering of life. In order for jen to exist, Confucius believed that you needed a well-ordered society. A well-ordered society consisted first in the household, with one’s understanding of the five basic relationships. The Five Relationships: the way things should be done in social life and society. Confucius believed the family to be the most important thing, by referring to family as “the basic unity of society.” The Five Relationships consisted of the father and son, having a very loving and respectful relationship, the elder brother and the younger brother being gentle and respectful towards each other, the husband and wife being good at listening to each other, older and younger friends being considerate towards one another in their indifferences, and finally the ruler and servant relationship, consisting of benevolence and loyalty. The Five Relationships come from kindness, rectitude, decorum, wisdom, and sincerity. Confucius taught another concept called Yi, which added righteousness or the moral disposition to do good to people. This was also a necessary condition for jen or for the Chun-Tzu or “superior man”. Yi basically connotes a moral sense to be good to others. It teaches that yi should be our inner, natural desire to be good. Yi should be second nature to a person, you shouldn’t have to think long and hard about, it should just be what’s inside of you. Chun-Tzu is defined as the ideal man or the superior man being a gentle person in the most significant sense. This is important to have in order to achieve jen according to Confucius. An ideal man is at home in the world and needs nothing himself, he is at the disposal of others and completely beyond his own personal ambition. When he is at jen he becomes intelligent enough to meet anything and do anything without fear. Becoming the ideal man is a journey, but with the right ego, mentality, virtues and morals, Confucius believed that it was attainable by anyone.

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