Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Confucius Say

Chen Ping, Confucius, Music (2009)

From the introduction of Lin Yutang's The Wisdom of Confucius (1938):

The chapter "On the Conduct of the Confucianists" in Liki (Juhsing, Ch. XLI) distinguishes this school of scholars from the rest. The term Ju (Confucianism is known in China as "the religion of the Ju" since Confucius' time, and the scholars styled as Ju were probably a special set of people, conservative in point of view, backed by historical scholarship, and wearing a special Ju cap and Ju gown as symbols of their belief in the past. The following are a few extracts showing the high moral idealism of this group of followers of Confucius:

The Duke Ai of Lu asked Confucius, "Is the Master's dress that of the Ju?" Confucius replied, "I grew up in Lu and wore a gown with broad sleeves, and stayed later in Sung and therefore wore a cap of black cloth. I have heard it said that a gentleman is broad in his scholarship, but wears the gown of his own country. I do not know if this gown that I wear may be called a Ju gown." "What about the conduct of the Ju?" asked the Duke, and Confucius replied, "I shall not be able to finish it if I were to describe all the details, and if I did, I would have to stop over here and yet not be able to cover it all, even after you have changed the attendants several times." The Duke then asked Confucius to sit down on the mat, and Confucius sat in his company and said,

"A Ju is like one who has jewels in his keeping waiting for sale; he cultivates his knowledge morning and night to prepare himself for requests for advice; he cherishes integrity and honesty of character against the time when he is appointed; he endeavors to order his personal conduct against the time when he shall be in office. Such is his independence!

"A Ju is orderly in his dress and careful in his actions; his great refusals seem like lack of respect and his little refusals seem like false manners; when he appears on public occasions, he looks awe-inspiring, and on small occasions he seems self-retiring; his services are difficult to get and difficult to keep while he appears gentle and weak. Such is his appearance!

"A Ju may be approached by gentle manners but may not be cowed by force; he is affable but cannot be made to do what he doesn't want; and he may be killed, but may not be humiliated. He is simple and frugal in his living, and his faults or mistakes may be gently explained but not abruptly pointed out to his face. Such is his strength of character!

"A Ju lives with the moderns but studies the ancients. What he does today will be an example for those in the generations to follow. When he lives in times of political chaos, he neither courts favor from those in authority, nor is boosted by those below. And when the petty politicians join hands to defame or injure him, his life may be threatened, but the course of his conduct may not be changed. Although he lives in danger, his soul remains his own, and even then he does not forget the sufferings of the people. Such is his sense of responsibility!

"A Ju is broad in his knowledge and not narrow-minded; he cultivates his conduct without cease; and in his private life he does not abandon himself. When he is successful, he does not depart from the truth. In his personal manners he values living in peace and harmony with others. He maintains the beauty of his inner character and is leisurely in his ways. He admires those cleverer than himself and is generous toward the masses, and is flexible in principle. Such is his ease of mind and generosity of character!"

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