Explore BrainMass

Confucius' Ideal Person

This content was STOLEN from BrainMass.com - View the original, and get the already-completed solution here!

What is the ideal person according to Confucius? Include the concepts of ren, li, shu, xiao, and wen.

© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com October 17, 2018, 9:59 am ad1c9bdddf

Solution Preview

The first point is: all people are born good.

Second point: he lived at a time of social turmoil in China c. 500BC. He is, in other words, worried about social reconstruction.


Ren-benevolence; the source and ground of all virtues - dignity of human life. It is, at its most practical, a harmonious social order. It includes all the virtues that are needed for this as our primary end.

Li-benefit; concrete guide; social order - all virtues exist both in themselves and as a part of a social order. This is a big one, since it connects the heavenly to the earthly order. Social order as a reflection of the heavenly, and the relations among people connected to the social order. Hence, it creates a descending ladder. All life is sacred and partakes, in a sense, in a ritual. Nature does this, so should we.

Li is the standard - it is the "connector" that places our will in the context of social life, family life and religious life. These are not really different for him.

Hsiao (xiao): filial piety; reverence - family the unit of society. All is to be grasped in familial-style relationships. Confucius says that this virtue is central - all relationships are seen as familial. He says there is no more important virtue than this.

Chi - natural knowledge of right and wrong. Man is born both social and moral. The notion is that there are inborn moral traits attached to people, the basic content is the social virtues. Remember - there are no "individuals" here - only relationships and virtues that attach to them.

Ti - power of example and ...

Solution Summary

The ideal person according to Confucius is determined.

Similar Posting

Daoism and Confucianism

1. Do you see any contradiction between the Daoist ideal of gracefully accepting death, suggested by the Daodejing, and the Daoist search for long life and immortality? Can the two goals be reconciled? Can you give 2 examples from TV, film and from family members and friends?

2. Consider your own "home culture." If Confucianism became an influence, how would its rules be expressed in everyday language and activity? Reflect on the idea of Western vs. Eastern conflict of "possessions."

3. Imagine an American city transformed by Confucianism. What would the schools be like? How would life on a gig-city street or in a subway be different? How might family life be different?

4. Daoist and Confucian values have shaped the arts of China. Ultimately the two are seen to be complimentary, with Confucianism dominating the social realm and Daoism informing ones private life. Are these really separate entities or do they blend seamlessly?

5. The Confucian virtue of life attends to propriety and ritual. Think of all the ways human beings have ritualized the social intercourse of daily life. Actually it may be more difficult to find a mode of social interaction that is not ritualized in some way. Examine the simple rituals of greeting one another. Isolate the components of intent, word, and gesture. When does the ritual work and when does it not? Then investigate something more complicated, like the rituals of dating. Explore the value of clearly defined rituals in this area versus a more Daoist approach of freedom and spontaneity. Which do you prefer and why? If the previous 'either/or' question bothers you, then you may already be thinking with a Chinese-like mind. If so, try combining the two approached in a yin/yang way.

View Full Posting Details