The Hsiao Ching

The Hsiao Ching

The Hsiao Ching

The Hsiao Ching

Excerpt

The term hsiao, here translated as "filiality," presents one of the most basic social and religious concepts of the Chinese people. Confucius, in the 6th century B.C., gave this virtue a primacy in man's moral development. However, it was only later, in his disciples, that filiality attained its full development in Chinese life and its more complete literary expression.

The capacity of a person to be a good husband, a faithful friend, or a loyal citizen is seen in the first and most intimate of all human relationships -- that of a child to his parents. If one is unfilial at home, he will not likely assume the duties proper to a citizen. A radical disorder has shown up at the source of all order, and this first disorder, if not corrected, must necessarily breed further trouble for the person, for those about him, and for the entire society. On the other hand, if a person is a loyal, responsive child, this indicates a sound inner disposition of soul that will inevitably manifest itself in the entire complex of human relations.

Chinese tradition recognizes that the perfection of moral life is founded in the virtue of filiality. The sentiment of filiality is found in an old Chinese poem which reads:

Father begot me,
Mother bore me;
They patted me,
Fed me,
Helped me to grow,
Nurtured me,
Took care of me,
Caressed me . . .

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