The Confucius ideology of

By Dr. Henry Wong Meng Yeong | Sunday, September 1, 2013 at 1:03PM

When Confucius was asked about the meaning of the word (ren), he explained that is to have a universal humane love. In the analects the word also represents a moral attitude which approaches the ultimate level of goodness embracing the eight virtues discussed in the cornerstone series.

The root of this fraternal love in the analects begins with love for one parents and siblings .

This fraternal love is first nurtured at home as a child’s first contact are with his/her parents. As the child ages, his/her love for the parents is in addition defined by their respect and responsibility to them. Hence Confucius asserts that a son is not deemed filial if he merely supports his parents, for without respect, is it any different from feeding and rearing horses and dogs? Or in today’s context merely paying for your parents’ nursing home expenses?

He continues that an example of demonstrating this respect is that when our parents are alive we should not wander far from home and should notify our parents of our whereabouts. In our contemporary world with Westernized values of civil liberties and personal rights, this would be deemed an infringement of personal freedom and even be misconstrued as being controlling. This is however the code of ethics prescribed by Confucius that we love, respect and attend to our parents’ needs.

If the Ten Commandments in the Bible could be summarized in one word, it would be respect. Respect for God, your parents, your wife, your neighbor’s property, his wife, his servants and livestock. The only commandment with a promise attached to it is that one should honor one’s parents that one may live long in the land.

If parents expect their children to be filial, Confucius expects them in turn to be filial to their own parents. Leading by example is to have no disparity between what they say (to their children about being filial) and what they do (for their parents). This is the proof of one’s truthfulness and sincerity.

The discussion continues…