Submitted By syrogers
Within the teachings and guidelines of Confucius there is a repeating pattern towards developing oneself towards ideal. This is done by following basic teachings, unlike in Daoism where there is no encouragement of teaching Confucius thought there was no other way to reach perfection. That people must learn from each other in order to reach an ideal state of being.
Confucius developed the Five Great Relationships, these are various relationship styles that he believed should be followed to reach a fully integrated society that could function well. First there was the Father/Son relationship which is more in depth than just a father and son it is a relationship to family and the relationship between child and parent. The parent is responsible for the child’s learning and care yet in later years this role in the later part for care and honoring is reversed. The second is Elder Brother/Younger Brother, this is a relationship for the oldest male taking responsibility for the siblings. Keeping them out of trouble and teaching them what is proper. Yet can become more complex than just this is there are still youngsters around when the father passes then the eldest son would take the responsibility of raising the children and caring for them. The third relationship is the Husband/Wife or the relationship between the two spouses to maintain a household and care for each other as well as the children. The fourth of the five gets more into societal relationships and away from the family aspects being the relationship between the Elder/Younger. In many societies it is common that the elders of a village or tribe teach the younger generations how to live and behave in society, what is proper and what is not. Lastly of the Five is the relationship between Ruler/Subject, this is something that should be quite common in modern Chinese society by now but was more so in the past when monarchies were common. A ruler of a society is dependent upon the subjects for everything in his country and everything being stable. Yet if the subjects do not act within their place in society it is common to have a militaristic approach to dealing with the uprising or problems within the country. The subjects depend upon protection and the ruler depends upon his very lifestyle.
Next are the Five Virtues taught by Confucius which are simple ways of acting within a day to day lifestyle. First there is “Ren” or kindness it has many meanings but in its basics it is being kind to others and yourself. Second there is “Li” or propriety this is simply put as doing what is proper for a specific situation, or good manners. This will get you a lot out of life and you can see aspects of it within the other four virtues. Third is “Shu” or reciprocity this in essence is a version of the golden rule. If you wish to be treated a certain way act that way towards others. Yet within Confucius teachings it is somewhat on the negative side stating if you do not wish to be treated poorly, do not treat others poorly so is known as the silver rule (Molloy, 2010.) The next virtue is “Xiao” or filial piety this is simply put a devotion to family as a whole not just those currently alive but also to those who have passed. There is strong loyalty in up keeping the gravesite and honoring those who have already left the family. Lastly there is “Wen” this is culture which we saw a strong devotion to traditional Chinese culture during the Beijing Olympics of 2008. This goes far beyond just this though those who follow these practices are expected to be at least an amateur in skill at all traditional Chinese arts.
According to Confucius the ideal person would follow not only the Five Great Relationships but also the Five Virtues. This is due to as humans we cannot strive to better ourselves without learning and depending upon others per Confucius. These paths or teachings teach not only how to live within society but also in day to day life. Overall these are excellent means in which to live to the betterment of an entire civilization
Molloy, M. (2010). Experiencing the world’s religions: Tradition, challenge, and change (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.