Essay/Term paper: Confucianism and christianity - Dream Essays
It is useful to contrast this conception of ren and thesocial arena in which it worked with the idea of jian ai or“impartial love” advocated by the Mohists who as early asthe fifth century BCE posed the greatest intellectual challenge toConfucius' thought. The Mohists shared with Confucius and hisfollowers the goal of bringing about effective governance and a stablesociety, but they constructed their ethical system, not on the basis ofsocial roles, but rather on the self or, to be more precise, thephysical self that has cravings, needs, and ambitions. For the Mohists,the individual's love for his physical self is the basis on whichall moral systems had to be built. The Confucian emphasis on socialrole rather than on the self seems to involve, in comparison to theMohist position, an exaggerated emphasis on social status and positionand an excessive form of self-centeredness. While the Mohist love ofself is also of course a form of self-interest, what distinguishes itfrom the Confucian position is that the Mohists regard self-love as anecessary means to an end, not the end in itself, which the Confucianpride of position and place appears to be. The Mohist program calledfor a process by which self-love was replaced by, or transformed into,impartial love—the unselfish and altruistic concern for othersthat would, in their reckoning, lead to an improved world untroubled bywars between states, conflict in communities, and strife withinfamilies. To adopt impartial love would be to ignore the barriers thatprivilege the self, one's family, and one's state and thatseparate them from other individuals, families, and states. In thisargument, self-love is a fact that informs the cultivation of concernfor those within one's own silo; it is also the basis forinteracting laterally with those to whom one is not related, a largecohort that is not adequately taken into account in the Confucianscheme of ethical obligation.
Essays of Lim Boon Keng on Confucianism by ChunBao Yan
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Although the early Chinese had no real commitment to subordination of women, over time Confucian teachings were expanded upon. It was during the Han dynasty (206 B.C.E. - 220 C.E.) that Confucianism was adopted as the government's state doctrine, with his thoughts becoming part of official education. In later dynasties, Neoconfucian interpretations further reinforced male authority and patrilineal customs. According to the Confucian structure of society, women at every level were to occupy a position lower than men. Most Confucians accepted the subservience of women to men as natural and proper. At the same time they accorded women's honor and power as mother and mother-in-law within their family.
Through the years a whole body of literature was written, educating women on self-discipline, etiquette, relationships with in-laws, household management, humility, and chastity. Biographies written about admirable women emphasized their unselfish loyal and self-sacrificing willingness to do anything to help their husband and his family. Although ideology is one thing and the reality of the lives of women often another, the long shadow of basic beliefs about the nature and role of women had far-reaching effects. This activity offers traditional sayings based on interpretations of Confucian beliefs to help raise awareness of the implications of such sayings on women's historic participation and status in their societies.