Teacher Tang Yuling will accompany you to read The Analects 38
38.Book 2 Wei Zheng (Of Governance), Chapter 21
Some one addressed Confucius, saying, “Sir, why are you not engaged in the government?” The Master said, “What does the Shu Jing say of filial piety? - ‘You are filial, you discharge your brotherly duties. These qualities are displayed in government.’ This then also constitutes the exercise of government. Why must there be THAT - making one be in the government?”
Highlights of this lecture include:
1. Historical Background
It was probably taken place during the reign of Duke Zhao of Lu. Duke Zhao was coerced to leave, and became an absentee head of state lived in exile at the State of Qi. Confucius left Lu, unwilling to serve the three families. Or, the sayings might happened during the time of Duke Ding under the influence of the notorious three families in control. Or, the sayings might be in the time after the Master returned from his famous Travels Around the States. At that time, Duke Ai was still rule under the shadow of the three families. Confucius did not want to involve in politics. Those above-mentioned three periods proofed by classic annotations might reflect certain aspects of the historical background of this chapter.
2. Confucius quoted the Shang Shu (AKA Shu Jing; The Book of Documents)
[Shang] Shu says: “You are filial, you discharge your brotherly duties.”—as cited in the Analects. Proper version quoted in the Shang Shu is: “Being filial, and friendly with your brethren, you can display these qualities...”
It’s a quote from the chapter of Jun Chen in the Zhou Book of the ancient classics Shang Shu. Jun Chen君陳 was the name of the son of the duke of Zhou (Zhougong周公) who was enfeoffed the eastern border at Luoyi雒邑by the king of Zhou. He was overlord of the territories and to regulate and looked after Yin’s descendants of Shang moved there. The quote was part of the instruction Zhougong for his son Jun Chen upon his appointment.
3. The effects of being filial and fraternal
The Xiao Jing 孝經or The Classic of Filial Piety stated that the practice of filial piety kicked start the process of character building in a person, ascended his capacity to lead a state or the whole country, also commenced familial harmony at the same time. Filial practice is magnificent in its scope of influences; so, as it was acclaimed: “It was filial piety the first of all [as the key of all virtues]. They can only be achieved by means of filial piety.” In ancient extended families, those who could fulfill his fraternal duties brought cohesion and solidarity to the family must be a person of ability because it was no easy task at all.
4. The practice of filial and fraternal duties foster the capability of governance.
“Being filial, and friendly with your brethren, you can display these qualities in the exercise of government” [from Sheng Shu] In fact, the practice of filial and fraternal duties are fundamentals of good governance. As family affairs can be well taken care of, then one can effectuate a transfer of his ability to state affairs to benefit more people through political means.