#068 DFQ

Both Jesus and Confucius, as two of history’s most famous teachers, have some interesting things in common.

Yeshua (Jesus), who eventually became known by his followers as The Lord, left no account of his life or his teachings in his own hand. His sayings, which he spoke in Aramaic, had to wait for many years after his death to be written down in Greek and Latin.

Hundreds of years later they were again translated into German by Martin Luther. Then in 1611, they were translated again into the old Shakespearean English of the King James version and its descendants (Protestant). And again into the Douay-Rheims version and its variations (Catholic). More recently, in the 20th century, there have been a wave of contemporary English translations like the New International Version (Evangelical).

What we are left with today are those sayings of Jesus that have been edited and translated over the millennia by his disciples and his disciples’ disciples so we can only make educated guesses about the accuracy of his original sayings.

It is interesting to note that many English-speaking people are not even aware that the original languages of the Bible are Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament).

A similar situation applies to Confucius who became known to his followers as The Master. Confucius is the romanised version of K’ung Fu-tzu which means Master Kung. Like Jesus, Confucius left no writings of his own and so we also have to rely on the accounts handed down by later generations of his disciples.

Books alleged to be written by him (Book of Odes, Book of Ritual, Spring and Autumn Annals) were actually only edited by him. Confucious wrote no works of his own. Even the Analects of Confucius was written by a disciple or disciples who wrote down a collection of The Master’s sayings which they began with the, now famous, phrase Confucius says ….

In addition to these similarities, there are also some interesting differences between these two great teachers. The Lord emphasised the Judaic tradition of The Father in Heaven as quoted in Jesus’ dying words: Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

By contrast, The Master focused on man in today’s world. In particular, the relationship between man and other men. He placed no importance at all on the spirit world. He was concerned about the real world and the obligations inherent in ‘the five relationships’ between:
- father and son,
- husband and wife,
- older brother and younger brother,
- friend and friend, and
- ruler and subject.

Although power was hereditary in China, Confucious stressed that the ruler should lead from the front by setting a good example to his people. This has become known as The Golden Rule or the “Do to others as you wish done to you” philosophy.

The Master’s ideal was the chun-tzu or what Westerners would call ‘the gentleman’. The chun-tzu practised daily to attain excellence in the following noble memes:

chih or integrity
i or fairness
chung or loyalty
shu or co-operation
ren or compassion.

If a ruler exemplified these virtues in all of his ‘five relationships’ then his rule would be a success and his people would be happy.

This is a very interesting political model and quite modern because the relationships are personal ones not organisational ones. Of course, it is retrospectively sexist and would apply to both (or all) sexes today. But the main point of the model is that behaviour is governed by a bottom-up approach rather than imposed by a top-down one.

At that time, young people were to become infected with these noble memes by imitation and the good example set by the ruler, the father, the older brother and the husband. These ideals were to become internalised, and if the individual practises these memes then this spreads out in a vast word-of-mouth network to infect the state as a whole.

It’s an organic model and seems to have been very successful. Throughout history foreign visitors to the vast Chinese state have noticed and commented on its familial organisation.

In China, before The Master, the state was ruled by force. Power was seized by warriors who struggled among themselves for supremacy. They ruled the other three classes – merchants, artisans and peasants – by force.

After Confucius there was a paradigm shift to ethical rule. The same three classes were now ruled by scholars and the Confucian ethic showed that indeed the pen can be mightier than the sword.

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DFQ #068:

Cut and paste the sentence that you will think more about later today?

Why did you choose this one?

319 thoughts on “#068 DFQ

  1. (Of Confucius it was stated)

    He was concerned about the real world and the obligations inherent in ‘the five relationships’ between:
    – father and son,
    – husband and wife,
    – older brother and younger brother,
    – friend and friend, and
    – ruler and subject.

    He was concerned about the real world and the obligations inherent in ‘the five relationships’ between:
    – father and son,
    – husband and wife,
    – older brother and younger brother,
    – friend and friend, and
    – ruler and subject.

    Remarkable that the Master focused on kinds of relations between men and right, best, good ways to for relate and apparently, saw with a clear and comprehensive gaze.

  2. But the main point of the model is that behaviour is governed by a bottom-up approach rather than imposed by a top-down one.

    I would completely agree with this sentence. The reason I chose this was because this seems to be not so common knowledge among the world. The world can easily change from a bottom up approach as opposed to a top down approach.

  3. I liked a few in this lesson but I chose this one.
    The same three classes were now ruled by scholars and the Confucian ethic showed that indeed the pen can be mightier than the sword.
    If only this could be used more often.

  4. -chih or integrity
    -I or fairness
    -chung or loyalty
    -shut or co-operation
    -rent or compassion

    If a ruler exemplified these virtues in all hi ‘five relationships’ then his rule would be a success and his people would be happy.

  5. “But the main point of the model is that behaviour is governed by a bottom-up approach rather than imposed by a top-down one.”
    I chose this as in most leadership or management courses, it is emphasised to involve your staff, lead by example and use the knowledge of all the staff you have.

  6. What we are left with today are those sayings of Jesus that have been edited and translated over the millennia by his disciples and his disciples’ disciples so we can only make educated guesses about the accuracy of his original sayings.

    Most people are brainwashed by the church or whoever tell the word of Jesus, truth is hard to find and most people don’t like research therfore we believe what others say, this means that most things that we believe are false

  7. “Do to others as you wish done to you”
    This sentence is chosen because it is a mantra of my life and I will continue NOTICE that I DO practice this love, and observe how it helps others, and THINK how I can do more.

  8. – chih or integrity
    — i or fairness
    — chung or loyalty
    — shu or co-operation
    — ren or compassion.

    I chose this because it challenges greatness and selflessness.

  9. “- chih or integrity
    — i or fairness
    — chung or loyalty
    — shu or co-operation
    — ren or compassion.

    because I am teaching a Yoga class about Friendship at lunchtime and I like the idea of realting these concepts to the idea of friendship.

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