foundations of Confucian ethics are FIVE BASIC RELATIONSHIPS
Older brother younger brother
Proper behaviour (li)
Doing ones duty (yi)
Knowing what is right (shi)
Reciprocal care of others (shu)
Respect, fulfilling the obligations of a child
It is not
authoritarian patriarchalism that stands at the centre of the
teaching of Confucius, but what is truly human.
(ren) in the sense of loving care, goodness, benevolence,
is the ethical term that is used most frequently in the Analects
could very well also be the basis today for a fundamental ethic
not only in China, but for humankind as a whole. According
to Confucius, humanity is to be understood as mutuality (shu),
as mutual respect, as he explains it in the Golden Rule:
What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.
evil can be distinguished by the basic norm of true humanity in
a quite elementary way, one that is valid for all. For the Chinese,
there is nothing beyond good and evil. Confucius is said to have
remarked that there are only two ways: humanity or inhumanity.
left: Taoist priestess; Yue Hai Qing temple, Singapore, Temple
of heaven, Beijing.
So the Chinese,
in particular, strongly believe that the universal basic criterion
for a global ethic should be: Whatever helps human beings
to be truly human is, in principle, good for them. This means
beings, whether individuals or societies, should not behave
an inhuman, antihuman, bestial way, as so often happens.
human beings, as individuals or in community, should behave
in a truly human way, a humane way: towards their fellow men and
society, and nature.
culture, around 5,000 years ago, was a shamanistic culture with
a strong religious stamp, at the centre of which stood the veneration
of ancestors and respective rites. Also, Heaven (tian)
was regarded and worshipped as the Ultimate Reality, the Absolute.
The era of
Chinese humanism began in China in the sixth century BC with the
emergence of wisdom teachers the most famous of them was
Confucius. There was a transition from magical religion to a rationality
centred on human beings and their ethical decisions.
To some degree
as a counter-movement to that, Taoism arose at that time. It was
a return to nature and its harmony, inspired by the wisdom writing
Tao Te Ching, which is attributed to the legendary wise man Lao-tsu.
This is a philosophical-mystical doctrine of the Tao, the way,
the primal law and primal foundation of all being, in which human
beings are to be embedded and with which they are to live in harmony.
The doctrine of Tao is to a certain extent, similar to the concept
of dharma in Hinduism and Buddhism.
over 1.4 billion Chinese, many of whom are Confucians, Taoists,
Buddhists, Christians, Muslims or just free thinkers.
However, the trend towards pragmatic syncretism has always been
strong among Chinese people, and many of their places of worship
contain elements of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism.
left: Foretelling from the hand; Morning T'ai-chi meditation in