Monday, April 06, 2009

How Confucius became learned

In a past entry, one had suggested that both the great sages, Laozi and Confucius had learned from their ancients. While Laozi could have studied the ways of Fu Xi, Huangdi and Jiang Ziya; Confucius could have studied the ways of Yao, Shun, King Wen and Duke Tan of Zhou.

This particular passage from the Analects informs that Confucius was self taught and also confirmed he became learned by studying the ways of King Wen and his son, King Wu. It also serves by inference to confirm that the great sage had studied the Zhouyi.

Kung-sun Chao of Wei asked Tsze-Kung, saying,
‘From whom did Chung-ni get his learning?’

Tsze-Kung replied,

‘The doctrines of Wen and Wu have not yet fallen to the ground. They are to be found among men. Men of talents and virtue remember the greater principles of them, and others, not possessing such talents and virtue, remember the smaller.

Thus, all possess the doctrines of Wen and Wu. Where could our Master go that he should not have an opportunity of learning them?

And yet what necessity was there for his having a regular master?’

[19. 22 Legge]

Since most of us are not geniuses, is it not time to study the ancient books and classics of the three doctrines – Daoist, Confucian, and Buddhist – if we want to become learned of the particular doctrine?

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