(Minghui.org) Confucius played an important role in establishing traditional Chinese culture. For example, he said, “Do not impose on others what you do not wish for yourself.” He also said, “If you yourself want to succeed, you will help others succeed; if you yourself want to straighten things out, you will help others straighten things out.” In summary, he focused on moral values.
Rectifying Folk Customs
According to Shi Ji (Records of the Grand Historian), Confucius became chancellor of Kingdom Lu at the age of 56 and was pleased about his appointment.
One of his students was puzzled and asked, “I’ve heard that a gentleman is not frightened when danger comes and not pleased when blessings arrive.”
Confucius replied, “That is correct. But there is also a saying, ‘A gentleman is eager to serve society even if he is of high rank.’”
Within three months after Confucius became chancellor, merchants dared not deceive their customers to make a profit, men and women paid attention to their manners and kept a proper distance apart when they were out in public, people would not pick up things that did not belong to them, and they did not have to beg officials for help because the services they needed were available.
The Importance of Virtue
Something else Confucius did after he became chancellor was to execute Shao Zhengmao. Like Confucius, Shao also gave public lectures, and almost all of Confucius’s students were attracted by his talks.
When asked why he executed Shao, Confucius explained, “There are five types of evil people, but thieves are not among them. The first one is clear of mind but follows an evil path. The second behaves badly but is unwilling to change. The third makes false statements but says them eloquently. The fourth is being overly familiar with filthy ideas and keeping them in mind. The fifth is agreeing to wrong opinions and elaborating on them.”
According to Confucius, the worst situation is when immoral people are in charge. None of these evil characteristics is acceptable, and Shao had all of them. That is why he had to be executed.
Confucius paid particular attention to virtue. Of course, this does not necessarily mean one needs to be perfect. Even among his ten most outstanding students, each had strengths only in certain areas. They included virtue (Yan Hui, Min Ziqian, Ran Boniu, Zhong Gong), speech (Zai Wo, Zi Gong), government affairs (Ran Qiu, Zi Lu), and literature (Zi You, Zi Xia).
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