Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A result of sincerity

Confucian scholars know the four books and five classics well. But how many can affect, change or transform others? According to the ancients only those sincere can. In previous entries, one has already indicated that Professor Sam Crane is a top class Confucian scholar and perhaps touched by his sincerity the Yi answers his various questions with profound accuracy.

On reading his latest post in his “The Useless Tree” blog on “Is South Korea a Confucian Society?” and the remarks of two Western posters, one realized that his sincerity emanates from the heart in Confucian studies. Why? Both the posters remarked that the so called Confucian virtues are also present in the people of US and Europe although to a lesser degree. Of course both are correct. The virtues belong to humanity. Confucius compiled them for posterity. It is all up to people to cultivate the virtues. Just in case readers have not noticed, even President Bush on his recent tour to the East mentioned his sincerity to set things right. When what Sam has written in a few short months on Confucian thoughts can affect others, it boils down to his brilliant sincerity.

This underlying result confirms what the ancients said in the Doctrine of the Mean (Zhongyong):

“Next to the above (the most complete sincerity) is he who cultivates to the utmost the shoots of goodness in him. From those he can attain to the possession of sincerity. This sincerity becomes apparent. From being apparent, it becomes manifest. From being manifest, it becomes brilliant. Brilliant, it affects others. Affecting others, they are changed by it. Changed by it, they are transformed. It is only he who is possessed of the most complete sincerity that can exist under heaven, who can transform.” [Legge 23]

2 comments:

Sam said...

Allan,
You are too kind. I am really not a scholar of Confucius, merely a student, and a fairly shallow student at that. Your depth of knowledge of the classics surpasses mine by far. I am happy to learn from you.

Allan said...

What one knows about the classics is just scratching the surface similar to the Chinese saying, ‘only knowing the skin and hair’. Being a slow learner and self-taught, how much can one learn in a lifetime? Therefore I am lucky to have access to the web to discuss and learn more from like minded fellows and teachers like you. It is only right to point out the good teachers to fellow students if they happen to come through this way. Thoughtful questions and answers are also good for sharing different experiences leading to a two-way street to further learning for both the teacher and the student, whichever roles they take.