A Stroll Through Literature and History: Confucius Valued Virtue and Advocated Education (Part II)
(Minghui.org) (Continued from A Stroll Through Literature and History: Confucius Valued Virtue and Advocated Education (Part I))
IV. Education Can Take Place Anywhere
During Emperor Shun's reign, farmers in Lishan routinely invaded each others' fields. After Emperor Shun went to do farming in Lishan for a year, the invasions stopped, and never happened again. Fishermen on the Yellow River used to fight for a higher, more advantageous location on the river. After Emperor Shun fished on the Yellow River for a year, the fishermen who once fought learned to respect the elderly. Pottery makers in Dongyi used to make shoddy vessels. When Emperor Shun went to make pottery with them for a year, their pottery became durable and of high quality.
Confucius praised the emperor's actions and said, “Farming, fishing and pottery-making were under Emperor Shun's administration, and when he went there and did these things, he saved these professions. He is a person of high integrity and virtue. He himself farmed, despite the hard life. All people wanted to follow his example, and that's why it was called education of virtue by a saint.”
During the Western Zhou Dynasty, the kings of the Yu and Rui states had a dispute over boundaries. They went to King Wen of Zhou, to ask him to judge who was right and who was wrong. After the two kings entered the state of Zhou, they saw how farmers conceded to each other at field boundaries, and even pedestrians yielded to each other. When they entered the city, they found that women and men were walking on different sides of the roads. The elderly didn't carry anything heavy. The court officials willingly stepped down in favor of worthier candidates. They saw uprightness and nobility in the people's actions everywhere they looked.
The two kings felt ashamed. They said to each other, “How can we petty persons have the nerve to ask about such a silly argument in a gentleman’s home?” Before they even saw King Wen, they gave each other the land in dispute, but none of them took it. Eventually the land was not used. Later generations called it the, “fallow fields.” When other kings heard this story, they followed King Wen as their example and submitted to his authority.
Confucius praised him and said, “King Wen's way of ruling is great! He helped people make positive changes without taking any action. He succeeded without doing anything intentionally. This is because he paid careful attention to the little things, was strict with himself, and respected others. The states of Yu and Rui made peace because of him. As stated in Shu, “King Wen was the only one who could cultivate and restrict himself prudently and sincerely. This is a good example of education by a saint's virtue.”
V. Benefit of Admonishment
Confucius once taught his students, “Although good medicine cures sickness, it is often unpalatable. Likewise, sincere advice given for one's well-being is often resented. Tang of the Shang Dynasty and King Wu of the Zhou Dynasty had ministers who dared to give them good advice, which helped their countries prosper.
Jie of Xia Dynasty and Zhou of Shang Dynasty couldn't take good advice. They had ministers who followed them blindly, and this sped up the collapse of their kingdoms. No one can avoid making mistakes in life if a king doesn't have an admonishing minister, a father doesn't have an admonishing son, an older brother doesn't have an admonishing younger brother, or an individual doesn't have an admonishing friend.
That's why we say, a king's mistake can be remedied by his minister, a father's mistake can be remedied by his son, and an older brother's mistake can be remedied by his younger brother. One's mistakes can be remedied by his friends. By doing so, a nation won't face collapse, family members won't rebel against each other, fathers and sons won't lose respect for each other, and friendship will endure.”
VI. “Virtuous Manners Constitute the Excellence of a Neighborhood.”
Confucius said, "Virtuous manners constitute the excellence of a neighborhood. If when selecting a place to live, a man doesn't choose one where virtue prevails, how can he be wise?" Confucius also said, “The virtuous rest in virtue; the wise desire virtue.”
Confucius devoted his life to promoting virtue, hoping all people in the world would enjoy its beauty. He wrote, “The benevolent loves others” and they “love the multitude at large.” Pursuing virtue, being strict with oneself, being fair, and being unselfish are required in cultivation of virtue. The foundation for practicing virtue is to respect. Respecting heaven and earth is a prerequisite; the human spirit is directly related to heaven, the earth, and all beings in nature.
If something abnormal happens in nature, humans should reflect upon their wrong behaviors. If human beings violate the heavenly laws, they won't be blessed even if they pray. A virtuous man should know to follow the heavenly law. An aspiring man should be close to saints, and to the virtuous and those who follow the Tao, so that he can learn from their teachings.
Confucius once told Zengcan, “Zixia has improved his knowledge very quickly, because he likes to be with people of virtue. So, being with the benevolent is like living in a house with fragrant plants. As time passes, one will receive good influence. That's why a man of virtue should carefully choose with whom he spends time.” The book “Standards for Being a Good Student and Child” also stated, “To follow the truly humane will bring immeasurable good. Virtue will grow day by day; mistakes will slowly fade away. Not following the truly humane will bring immeasurable harm. Unworthy people will draw near you, and everything will go awry.”
All ancient saints taught people to be benevolent and virtuous. When people follow the way of the heaven, loving and respecting each other, society will live in peace. However, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has destroyed traditional Chinese culture and morality. It has replaced traditional values with its Party culture of lies, wickedness, and struggle. It has sabotaged the harmony between humans and nature, as well as the harmony between people. When conscience is lost in people's hearts, society loses order, morality degenerates, the environment becomes polluted, and disasters take place. It is the root of all plagues in a society.
The CCP's brutal persecution of innocent Falun Gong practitioners who pursue the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is unacceptable by Heaven's laws, and will certainly bring punishment. More and more Chinese people have quit the Communist organizations after seeing its evil nature. They have chosen bright futures for themselves. Knowing the truth, safeguarding the truth, and regaining morality and conscience are the only ways to restore harmony between humans and nature, and to ensure the beauty of life, generation after generation.