Posted by Winnie Melda on October 24th, 2018
According to Confucian ethics, the family is the foundation of the moral society. Every individual member of a family is properly related to one another defined in the order of age, sex, and birth. A minor should respect the elders. However, the minor can expect to be protected. Therefore, everyone is a part of this system. The Confucian ethics also have strict requirements for the worship of the ancestors. According to these ethics, ancestors are still part of the family and are counted as elders. Therefore ancestors are carefully treated with a lot of respect and veneration. Confucius refers the reciprocal obligations in between members of the family and the base virtue of the way parents and ancestors are respected as filial piety. Confucius calls for the obedient of filial piety in which people should respect their elders, obeyed parents, assisted the elderly, offer children protection, and fair treatment to the siblings. This will lead to harmonious and peaceful families and societies.
Confucius strongly believed that worship of the ancestors was more than a mechanical exercise of rituals. Rituals had an extreme importance to Confucius. The right way of performing rituals would help people and Confucius to reenact practices of the ancient people. During the life and times of Confucius, China was formerly divided into many small principalities. Confucius was born into one of the principalities referred to as Lu which is today’s Shandong Province in eastern China. To Confucius, rituals would not be preserved without the rectification of names. For example, a king should be referred to as king and a prince a prince but not a prince a king. Many of the princes of the small Chinese duchies aspired to be referred to as kings. The preservation of the correct naming led to correct social relationships between kings and their ministers. Therefore, Confucius, while writing Zhou Dynasty history, would hide some of the instances where the Zhou king was sometimes defeated by the dukes who eventually tried to overthrow him from the power. He also used some euphemisms to avoid disrespecting the Zhou King.
According to Confucius ethics, some ritual propriety can be completely accomplished by the cultivation of a sense of shame. Shame is an inner source of responsibility and virtue. In Confucius ethics, shame represents an emotive and somatic condition that characterizes human beings interaction personally and publicly. Shame manifests how human beings public life and personal motives, beliefs, and intentions depend on one another. Shame is a demonstration of human beings concern for caring about how other perceive them. In the Analects Book II, 3, it is written, “Guide them by edicts, keep them in line with punishments and the common people will stay out of trouble but will have no sense of shame. Guide them with virtue, keep them in line with the rites, and they will, besides having a sense of shame, reform themselves.” For this reason, a ritual is a well-defined set of behaviors expected from a person specific to a situation. Additionally, propriety is comprehensively understood as suitable behavior when a person performs the ritual correctly. Appropriate performance of ritual reinforces people’s sense of shame while identifying public behaviors reflective on people’s internal states.
About the AuthorWinnie Melda
Joined: December 7th, 2017
Articles Posted: 364
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