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Word for the Wise October 18, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Confucius

The 27th day of the eighth lunar month (that’s today) is celebrated as the birthday of Confucius. We’re celebrating with a look first at the life and then at the words of that most famous philosopher, political theorist, and teacher. (来源:EnglishCN英语博客基地)

Confucius gave birth to Confucianism, the system of teachings characterized by the practice and cultivation of the six cardinal virtues of filial piety, kindness, righteousness, propriety, intelligence, and faithfulness that historically — for more than two millennia — have formed the basis of much Chinese ethics, education, statecraft, and religion. Confucius didn’t begin teaching until he was in his thirties; after his death (at 73), more than three thousand people claimed to have been his followers.

Today, knowingly or not, many people still follow his advice. Who would dispute this Confucian admonition: "No matter how busy you think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance"? Or argue with the truth of this: "They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom"?

We'll end with a Confucian observation and a goal. Confucius said, "In a country well-governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." Finally, Confucius defined perfect virtue as "practicing [these] five things under all circumstances: gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness."

 
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