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The Sayings of Confucius

Confucius

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .being practised for anything but its own sake would ever have occurred to his mind. Virtue resting on anything but its own basis would not have seemed to him virtue in the true sense at all, but simply another name for prudence, foresight, or cunning. Yet material advantage, disguised as much as you will, but still material advantage in one form or another, is what impels most men to espouse any particular form of religion. Hence it is nothing less than[Pg 27] a standing miracle that Confucianism, which makes no promise of blessings to be enjoyed in this life or the next, should have succeeded without the adjunct of other supernatural elements than that of ancestor-worship. Even this was accepted by Confucius as a harmless prevailing custom rather than enjoined by him as an essential part of his doctrine. Unlike Christianity and Mahometanism, the Way preached by the Chinese sage knows neither the sanction of punishment nor the stimulus of reward in an after-life. Even Bud. . . Read More

Community Reviews

It’s depressing to think that the teachings of Confucius constituted a religion in most of East Asia – i.e. they were wise sayings and stories of a great man from a certain time, that have been selectively reinterpreted by kings and heads of state, force-fed to generations of schoolchildren in vario

There are two things that are commonly labeled ‘philosophy’. The first is philosophy sensu strictu, which deals with technical problems in its various branches, such as epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, etc. The other is what one could call a “philosophy of life”, a vague category that one encounte

Someone here noted that we can’t rate The Analects but we can rate the edition that we have used and read. I’m not sure about that. I did enjoy this Penguin with the lengthy introduction (largely skipped) and terse footnotes (rather useful) and the concluding biographical section. The reverence of h

In a class taught by General George S. Patton, IV at the George Washington University in the early 80's, reflecting on his experience in Vietnam, he summarized the failure of US policy in SE Asia as a failure to understand the history and culture of the region.

Years later as I prepared to deploy to

Confucius has a lot of wisdom. Anyone who is serious about living life well would do well to read the Analects.

Poignant Quotes:

If you try to guide the common people with coercive regulations and keep them in line with punishments, the common people will become evasive and will have no sense of shame

When Confucius was asked what he thought about the idea of being kind to someone who does you wrong, he pointed out that this would be unfair to people who treat you right, who deserve to be treated better than people who do you wrong. Confucius was therefore an advocate of justice, was Aristotle. J

“Is it not indeed a pleasure to acquire knowledge and constantly to exercise oneself therein?”

It really is. It’s a noble pursuit, forever trying to learn and improve and become the best you possible. And in a way, that’s the main drive behind these teachings: self-improvement.

I’ve met so many

子曰:「唯上知與下愚不移。」
The Master said, 'It is only the most intelligent and the most stupid who are not susceptible to change."
- Confucius, The Analects, XVII.3

I rarely re-read books. An exception to this rule are ethical or religious texts. I love Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and will read this in dribs

تا حالا زياد جملات زيبا و بى نظيرى از كنفوسيوس شنيديم. با كمال تأثر و تأسف، بايد اعلام كنم كه همه شون جعلى هستن، يكى از موارد تب جملات جعلى به بزرگان نسبت دادن.
جملات خود كنفوسيوس، بسيار خسته كننده و عارى از هر گونه زيبايى و نكته ى اخلاقى خاص هستن. به زحمت مى تونيد دو سه جمله پيدا كنيد كه ارزش نقل قو

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