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The wisdom of The Zhongyong
Onelittleangel > Confucianism > The Zhongyong
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T he principles of being a person of noble character start from the rapport between husband and wife, the truth of which, at its utmost, enables us to thoroughly understand the way of the universe.




7599 |   The Zhongyong, Confucianism








O nly when we treat all with utmost sincerity can we fully restore our self-nature. Once we have restored our self-nature, we will be able to help other human beings to do the same. Able to help other human beings to restore their self-nature, we will be able to assist all beings to do the same. Able to help all beings to restore their self-nature, we will be able to assist heaven and earth in educating and nurturing all and to attain the state of no birth or death.




7589 |   The Zhongyong, Confucianism








T he original state of the universe is called self-nature. To practise according to self-nature is known as the Dao. To practise the Dao, namely, to correct our bad thoughts, speech and behaviour, is called education. The Dao is ubiquitous and it has never left us. Anything that arises and can be destroyed and that comes and goes is not the Dao. . . . The Mean is the essence of the universe, and harmony is the universal Dao in the universe.




7588 |   The Zhongyong, Confucianism








A bsolute truth is indestructible. Being indestructible, it is eternal. Being eternal, it is self-existent. Being self-existent, it is infinite. Being infinite, it is vast and deep. Being vast and deep, it is transcendental and intelligent. It is because it is vast and deep that it contains all existence. It is because it is transcendental and intelligent that it embraces all existence. It is because it is infinite and eternal that it fulfills or perfects all existence. In vastness and depth it is like the Earth. In transcendental intelligence it is like Heaven. Infinite and eternal, it is the Infinite itself. Such being the nature of absolute truth, it manifests itself without being seen; it produces effects without motion; it accomplishes its ends without action.




4100 |   The Zhongyong, Confucianism
Source : Doctrine of the Mean 26  








B efore the feelings of pleasure, anger, sorrow, and joy are aroused it is called equilibrium (chung, centrality, mean). When these feelings are aroused and each and all attain due measure and degree, it is called harmony. Equilibrium is the great foundation of the world, and harmony its universal path. When equilibrium and harmony are realized to the highest degree, heaven and earth will attain their proper order and all things will flourish.




2368 |   The Zhongyong, Confucianism
Source : Doctrine of the Mean, Chapter 1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 5.  








S incerity means the completion of the self, and the Way is self-directing. Sincerity is the beginning and end of things. Without sincerity there would be nothing. Therefore the superior man values sincerity. Sincerity is not only the completion of one's own self, it is that by which all things are completed. The completion of the self means humanity. The completion of all things means wisdom. These are the character of the nature, and they are the Way in which the internal and the external are united. Therefore whenever it is employed, everything done is right.




2169 |   The Zhongyong, Confucianism
Source : Doctrine of the Mean, Chapter 25, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 5.  
In no other Confucian work is the Way (Tao) given such a central position. This self-directing Way seems to be the same as the Tao in Taoism. But the difference is great. As Ch'ien Mu has pointed out, when the Taoists talk about Tao, as being natural, it means that Tao is void and empty, whereas when Confucianists talk about Tao as being natural, they describe it as sincerity. This, according to him, is a great contribution of the Doctrine of the Mean . It should also be pointed out that with Confucianists, "The Way is not far from man. Contrary to the Tao of Taoism, the Confucian Tao is strongly humanistic.








O nly those who are absolutely sincere can fully develop their nature. If they can fully develop their nature, they can then fully develop the nature of others. If they can fully develop the nature of others, they can then fully develop the nature of things. If they can fully develop the nature of things, they can then assist in the transforming and nourishing process of Heaven and Earth. If they can assist in the transforming and nourishing process of Heaven and Earth, they can thus form a trinity with Heaven and Earth.




2166 |   The Zhongyong, Confucianism
Source : Doctrine of the Mean, Chapter 22, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 5.  








I n practicing the ordinary virtues and in the exercise of care in ordinary conversation, when there is deficiency, the superior man never fails to make further effort, and when there is excess, never dares to go to the limit. His words correspond to his actions and his actions correspond to his words. Isn't the superior man earnest and genuine?




2165 |   The Zhongyong, Confucianism
Source : Doctrine of the Mean, Chapter 13, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 5.  








W hat you do not wish others to do to you, do not do to them.




2164 |   The Zhongyong, Confucianism
Source : Doctrine of the Mean, Chapter 13, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 5.  








W hat Heaven (T'ien, Nature) imparts to man is called human nature. To follow our nature is called the Way (Tao).




2163 |   The Zhongyong, Confucianism
Source : Doctrine of the Mean, Chapter 1, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 5.  
In the above first chapter, Tzu-ssu (Confucius grand son, author of the Doctrine of the mean according to Chu His) relates the ideas which had been transmitted to him, as the basis of discourse. First, it shows clearly that the origin of the Way is traced to Heaven and is unchangeable, while its concrete substance is complete in ourselves and may not be departed from. Next, it speaks of the essentials of preserving, nourishing, and examining the mind. Finally, it speaks of the meritorious achievements and transforming influence of the sage and the spirit man in their highest degree. Tzu-ssu's hope was that the student should hereby return to search within himself to find these truths, so that he might remove his selfish desires aroused by external temptations, and realize in full measure the goodness which is natural to him. This is what scholar Yang meant when he said that this chapter is the quintessence of the whole work.






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