Confucianism Leadership Happiness and Independence Term Paper
- Length: 10 pages
- Subject: Mythology - Religion
- Type: Term Paper
- Paper: #13820646
Excerpt from Term Paper :
This method of presentation attracted several immediate attacks from enemies within the church even before a reaction from the Chinese.
Sometime after 1610, one critic, Father Longobardo, said that even with all the references to that of a supreme deity, the Chinese had never differentiated the moral regularities of society and the physical regularities which were that of the material universe. The Chinese had also never understood or accepted any spiritual substance separate from matter. This criticism was increased by emphasizing on the lack of reference to that of the divine powers in Confucius and other thinkers of his school. The argument went on saying that whatever the most ancient Chinese had thought of and considered their classical tradition had been influenced through truly atheist lines. What is most interesting is that Confucian thought accepts the passivity of Heaven and searches for the problems on earth elsewhere especially in the wrongs of human beings. This view leads us to assume that Heaven and all things are good in themselves and that is what will happen if organisms of the earth and other items are left alone and unmolested. This leads to the conclusion that the evil people suffer is the result rather than as a punishment for their own wrongs. (Dealing with Divinity: Definitions of the spiritual in early Confucian thought)
The process of troubles and sufferings will cease when human beings are able to get their own house in order. In the Poetry this idea is only in the initial stages, and its further development was by Confucius. He had a great effect because of his contribution to the solution of what may be called the 'Heaven problem'. This view assumes that human morality is natural, and a necessary part of the natural order. Seeing this morality arrive through human effort is required for the golden age to arrive. This can come when there is an age of perfect rule, and where punishment is unnecessary and suffering unknown. (Dealing with Divinity: Definitions of the spiritual in early Confucian thought) Since there is no punishment and suffering, there is no doubt that people will be happy and thus the teachings of Confucius are also a route for achieving happiness.
There were beliefs in Confucian thought that the lives of people are controlled within parameters that are established by Heaven. This is where the problems come as heaven means both an all purposeful supreme being, as also nature, which has fixed cycles and patterns. At the same time, Confucius argues that men are to be responsible for their own actions and the greatest actions are the treatment of others. To a certain extent this reflects independence as humans are made responsible for events through their action. This shows that people can make attempts to avoid trouble if they make choices for it. At the same time, one needs to understand that heaven exists in one form or another and it is heaven that determines or decides man's fate. The concept of independence is thus considered to be complicated and complex and may be said to have two opposing kinds of aspects. This aspect is that human beings can do anything whatever they feel like at their own discretion, but this freedom will not however grant them the freedom to do anything which is not considered to be ordained by heaven or which comes from the supreme power, in whatever form the power may be considered to be. This is possibly the conflict or the doubt that independence faces in any kind of religion having an all powerful God. We can do however do little or more so nothing to alter or change our span of existence. But we have to determine or decide as to what we accomplish, how we accomplish and what we are and will be remembered for. (Confucius: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Confucius presented his teachings as knowledge that has come from antiquity. According to him he was only passing on information and not making the information, and his entire work was based on his confidence on and love for the ancients. According to him the information that he was passing on had already been established during the peak of the royal Zhou rulers and this sort of justification certainly points to his humility. These may also have been the way things were done at that time. He also claimed that all his teachings were based on what had happened earlier. This certainly influenced later philosophers who adopted this style in their teachings also. (Confucius: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
While this is considered to be a very humble approach, this approach tries to convince people or was convincing enough for people in those days. This shows a certain amount of capable and relevant teaching but while we discuss it in terms of leadership it shows a capability enough to be a leader among that category of people concerned. It also tries to show that he had adopted a course of pattern that was safe for him in order to continue with his teachings and not to get hurt by the rulers who were present during that time, and that was also considered to be an important concern at that time. But in totality when we understand about Confucius, we realize that he did not become a successful leader when it comes to assuming the command of the people. In spite of his serious efforts also, he was not given the dominant control of those areas even where his theories could have been implemented. This again points to show that he was probably being considered of as a good teacher and his teachings were viewed to be good for the people, but whether they were to be practical was a question of doubt.
This is probably considered to be true as for all religions which are viewed to be very good, but are not often implemented in practical terms. That is the reason for the concept of confessionals in Christianity. This is a peculiar type of dichotomy that prevails in all religions of the world and that is probably considered to be the reason as to why Confucian thinking became an essential element in China. This was anticipated to be a sort of a logic with which one could provide an element of justification for any act that one took. The preacher was popular and giving his reference was considered to be good enough for providing strength to arguments, and at the same time they were not viewed to be offensive at any stage. It is actually very rare that one would get a ruler philosopher who is being accepted outside his realm of activity. So, in a way, one can say that Confucius was a leader of the masses at least in terms of thinking, though he never actually led as a leader. (Confucius: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
At the same time, much of what Confucius taught seems to have been original and certainly showed a radical departure from the thoughts and practices of those days. Confucius like many other religious leaders claimed that he had a special, direct and privileged link with Heaven. This continued and by the age of fifty, he claimed that he understood what Heaven had mandated for him and for the entire mankind. This is a common ego problem and psychologists would be the first to say that he required saying all this to support his ego which would have otherwise given him a lot of trouble since he could not achieve what he probably thought was within his powers to achieve. Confucius was also careful to tell his followers that they should not ever avoid giving the offerings which are due to Heaven. They also thought that Confucius had great respect for the spirits and felt that the spirits should be worshipped with total sincerity, and Confucius taught them that serving the spirits was considered to be more complex and complicated matter than serving mere mortals. This is again a natural course to follow among all men of God as they have to call upon a superior to be the proof of their superiority. Why should people obey them if they are not superior?
Since the entire concept of God in China was ambiguous, Confucius concentrated a lot on social philosophy. This promoted the concept of ren, or compassion or loving others. Generally when one promotes this sort of a concept, others would feel that this leads to deprecation of self. At the same time, this is a policy which would make a person inoffensive. One has to be careful in taking such a stand as this involves artful speech or even speaking in a manner that would seem to be for creating good relationships with some people. Some people say…