Confucius Now: Contemporary Encounters with the Analects

Confucius Now: Contemporary Encounters with the Analects

Confucius Now: Contemporary Encounters with the Analects

Confucius Now: Contemporary Encounters with the Analects

Synopsis

Confucius (Master Kong or Kongzi) is China's first great teacher and the life's blood of what it means to be Chinese today. His spiritual outlook is very different from that of the Christian West or of other Eastern traditions such as Daoism or Buddhism.

Excerpt

Confucius Now: Contemporary Encounters with the Analects provides a foundational narrative of resonating voices that articulate the contemporary importance of Kongzi, or Confucius, one of the world's greatest teachers and philosophical thinkers. Confucius is China's first great teacher and the life's blood of what it means to be Chinese today, even after the Cultural Revolution that attempted to eradicate all that was religious in China. But the religion of China never really accustomed itself to the views of transcendence embraced by the Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam or those found in pre-Buddhist India. The Chinese religious sensibility emerged as an immanent practice that sought harmony over freedom, consensus over choice, intimacy over integrity, and communitarianism over individualism. These religious sensibilities find their clearest and fullest expressions in the philosophies of China, especially in the philosophy of its first master, Kongzi.

This book is in many ways a religious book. Its religiosity is akin to the human spirituality found in Confucius's own thinking, in his own words compiled into the “ordered sayings” (Lunyu, or Analects by his students, and in the spirituality of the Chinese people that these ordered sayings reflect. For Confucius, this spirituality is irrevocably social, as Henry Rosemont, Jr., and Roger T. Ames, two of our contributors, often say, and there is nothing more natural than human sociability. And as Edward Slingerland, another contributor, has written in his translation of the Analects, “the social world should function in the same effortless, wu-wei fashion as the natural world.” To learn to be natural and effortless, to be wu-wei, with our fellow human beings is a philosophical and religious challenge that is clearly and insightfully articulated by the writers in this volume.

One goal of Confucius Now is to celebrate the revival of Master Kong's teachings. The contributors of this book have all contributed to putting Confucius back on the radar screens of academic philosophers and the thoughtful general public. This is especially so of Herbert Fingarette, Roger Ames, Henry Rosemont, Jr., Philip J. Ivanhoe, Edward Slingerland, and Kwong-loi Shun. In his landmark book Confucius: The Secular as Sacred, Herbert Fingarette, who came out of retirement for this project, was looking for an alternative to Western philosophizing, especially the way Westerners approached their ethical lives. He turned to Confucius and initially found him to be “a prosaic and parochial moralizer” and “his collected sayings, the Analects, seemed … an . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.