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Derek Martin

CHN 305

Questions:
• Explain the following in terms of the concept of De:
The Master said: “One who rules through the power of Virtue (De) might
be compared to the Pole Star, which simply remains in place while
receiving the homage of the myriad lesser stars.” (2.1)

- Kind of like how anybody can use their energy (asking for a favor) to get
things done for them, it is said that one who possesses De is able to
channel this energy into forward progress.
- Confucius’ quote is referring to the fact that the Pole Star remains still
and calm while it uses its energy and power to influence the other stars
around it.

• Explain the following in terms of Confucius’ view of


education:
The Master said: “The gentleman [superior person] does not serve as
a vessel.” (2.12)

- Confucius was referring to the fact that the superior person is not here
to serve some purpose or complete some task, but rather to reach the
maximum level of morality within himself.
- He was adamant that, in order to restore the ideals of the Golden Age,
it would be necessary for people to focus on bettering their inner self.
• Explain the significance of the following:
The Master said: I transmit rather than innovate. I trust in and have a love
for antiquity.” (7.1)

- Confucius was convinced that the 5 Classics already possessed the superior
ideals needed to run a prosperous society
- He is saying that there is no need for him to try to invent or create new
concepts himself, but to focus on transmitting the knowledge that has already
been recorded and seeing it in a new light of both knowledge as well as from
a standpoint of self-morality.

• Choose any statement in the Analects that speaks to you


and explain what it means in terms of Confucian values. (Be sure
to quote it below)
"To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect
virtue; and they are, ‘courtesy, breadth, good faith, diligence and clemency.’”

- This highlights the idea that one must focus on very specific traits in order to
become a worthy (or superior) person.
- Confucius believed that there was more or less a formula to follow, with
which one could practice and eventually unlock their true virtue
- This is an example of Confucius giving new light to old traditions or
concepts, because he takes these traits that have been around forever and he
turns them into a concept that easily can be distributed to everyone.