confucianism-filial - Hoang 1 Duc Hoang Professor Sandra...

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Hoang 1 Duc Hoang Professor Sandra Lee IQS 125 26 May 2008 Confucianism and Filial Piety in Chinese culture Western people might wonder why once upon a time in China, choosing a wife or husband for one’s life was not his or her decision but their parents’, or one must mourn for their deceased parents at least three years. The answer is about the definition of morality. Different conceptions of morality have guided different cultures in different directions regarding a central question of human existence: Does morality require filial piety (or filial obligation) of children toward their parents? Confucianism, which remains influential in Chinese culture, answers an emphatic "yes", while Western culture's response is ambiguous, to say the least. Confucianism underlies the familial relationships in Chinese culture, specifically the values of filial piety, thus differing from Western culture. An understanding of Confucius, the concepts of Confucianism and their impacts on relationships and behaviors in Chinese familial life will be discussed followed by examples from specific case studies in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Confucianism's roots are traced to the teacher-prophet Kongzi whom we call Confucius. He lived in a corrupt society in Shandung, on the northeastern coast, during the sixth century B.C Although Confucius lived in the fifth and sixth centuries B.C. his teachings still form the basis for family values. Confucius is remembered as being both the first and the most renowned great Chinese philosopher. Confucius' family structure as a youth was more atypical than typical of what we might expect. Although he was the son of a magistrate in what is present day, Shandong, his father died when he was very young and he was raised by his mother in great
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Hoang 2 poverty. After a brief stint as a government official during his younger years, he resigned from government duty to begin teaching. His teachings attracted many disciples. He reentered public office when invited to do so at the age of fifty to briefly serve as magistrate then be honored with assignment to the highest post in the state which could be obtained by a commoner such as himself. Even more important than his governmental duties, however, was the philosophical guidance he provided for almost all aspects of human affairs. According to Confucius, there were five basic concepts which lead mankind to living a good and productive life, while at the same time, enable him to make a positive contribution to his society. First, there is Jen, which is, quite literally, a combination the Chinese words for human being and the number two, with the implication being that emphasis must not be placed on a single individual, but on along with others in a relationship, whether it be familial, friendship or in the workplace. The principle of Jen has been described as goodness, or the highest of all moral virtues. The Eastern religious authority Huston Smith explained in The world's religions: our great wisdom traditions
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This note was uploaded on 03/10/2011 for the course IQS 125 taught by Professor Duc during the Spring '05 term at Linfield.

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confucianism-filial - Hoang 1 Duc Hoang Professor Sandra...

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