The Thought of Confucius and Chinese Culture

Contemporary Chinese Thought 8 (1):77-88 (1976)
Abstract
Chinese culture is a lively and active organism. If we are to get to the real image of Chinese culture, we should take as a starting point the first passage of the Chung-yung [Doctrine of the Mean], which expounds its basic principles: "That which Heaven has decreed is called Nature, to follow that Nature is called tao [way] and to cultivate the tao is called instruction." This passage uses three phrases and one breath; these three phrases have a unified nature which cannot be separated and which constitute one long sentence. Because of this, the words as a whole lead people to think of a richly vital and great tree which has the will of Heaven as its roots, human nature as its shoots, the tao as its trunk, and cultural instruction as its branches, leaves, and blossoms. As for the fruit, in terms of the individual, it is the achievement of a completely beautiful character, and in terms of the masses of the people, it is the ordering of the country and the pacification of the realm, the progression from the era of peace under the ancient kings to the age of the Grand Unity [ta-t'ung]
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