Friday, November 14, 2008

子日:述而不作 Confucius Said: A Transmitter and Not a Maker

孔子(551BC – 479 BC)出生与生活于周代春秋时期中国东北的鲁国。周代(1122 BC to 256 BC) 是中国历史上历时最久的一个朝代,建国初期和后期,人们生活条件和社会状况相差很大。
Confucius (551BC - 479 BC) was born and raised in the state of Lu during the Spring and Autumn period of Zhou dynasty in Shandong province in northeast China. The Zhou dynasty (1122 BC to 256 BC) is by far the longest in Chinese history, and the conditions of life and the state of society at the beginning and end of it are vastly different.
The Zhou dynasty achieved a highly sophisticated political culture, educational system and social structure. It was famous for its culture of rites and music (礼乐文化) and lots of writing were produced and preserved from Zhou dynasty, including Book of Odes (Shi Jing), Book of History (Shang Shu), Book of Changes (Yi Jing), and the Rites of Zhou (Zhou Li).
Confucius was disheartened on seeing the decline and falls of the Zhou culture of rites and music, which was developed and flourished for a number of centuries prior to his birth in 551 BC.
While the Daoists responded by moving away from human civilization and finding tranquility and liberation in nature, Confucius responded with a holistic, long term solution by teaching his fellow people the Zhou culture.
Thus, when Confucius said he is ‘a transmitter and not a maker, believing in and loving the ancients’, he is not being modest. Rather he was making an existential choice.
He continued: ‘I am not one who was born in the possession of knowledge; I am one who is fond of antiquity, and earnest in seeking it there. ’
It is inevitable that while transmitting the ideas from the classics, he gave them interpretations derived from his own moral concepts, which ultimately evolved into a school of thought known as Confucianism.

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