Confucius lived through a time of social change in China. Society was moving away from the old values, and towards more selfish pursuits that he felt were immoral and unjust. To this end, Confucius taught others what he felt were the core values of ancient Chinese culture, and in effect changed China forever.
The two most stressed values that Confucius taught were Ren, Perfect Virtue, and Li, Rules of Propriety, both of which, according to Confucius, are needed in order to become a superior man. Confucius' idea was if each person were to become superior men on their own, there would be no need for social reform, because everyone would already be living by values that perfected China as a whole.
[...] If you are kind, this will enable you to employ the services of others.'” [Ch 17 Confucius himself here defines Perfect Virtue as the manner in which one carries oneself. In each manner that Confucius describes, the person is humble and honest. If a person were to act in these ways, people would respond to them with more respect. Each of these aspects conveys selflessness and would make excellent qualities in a leader. My final selection from The Analects on Perfect Virtue would be: Yuan asked about perfect virtue. [...]
[...] If one is respectful to his fellow man, clearly weighs his words before speaking, remains selfless, and honors the Rules of Propriety, he will have attained Perfect virtue as prescribed by Confucius. Now that we have a clearer definition to Perfect Virtue, we need to define what the Rules of Propriety are, since they are a key element to attaining Perfect Virtue. Unlike Perfect Virtue, the Rules of Propriety are not as clearly defined in The Analects. “Mang asked what filial piety was. [...]
[...] If everyone were to treat one another with fairness, there would be little injustice in the world, thus allowing for self governance, or just governing of others. “Sze-ma Niu asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, man of perfect virtue is cautious and slow in his speech.' ‘Cautious and slow in his speech!' said Niu; this what is meant by perfect virtue?' The Master said, ‘When a man feels the difficulty of doing, can he be other than cautious and slow in speaking?'" [Ch 12 This passage encourages thoughtfulness. [...]
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