Ethics | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
The excellence of two short texts in the was sorecognized by Neo-Confucian scholars of the twelfth century CEthat they made them two of the four Confucian classics (alongwith the and , and for six centuriesthey were the basis of civil service examinations. These two textsare the , which has beentranslated as "The Great Learning" and which I call"" becauseit means learning for adults, and the , which has been translated as "The Doctrineof the Mean" and "Central Harmony" and which Icall "."The first part of the is attributed to Confucius, and scholars divide on the authorshipof the commentary and editing between the disciple Zeng-zi andthe grandson of Confucius, Zisi, who is also generally consideredthe author of the .
Aristotle | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Confucius and his followers, in my opinion, offered a marvelousethical philosophy in warring and chaotic times that mostly ignoredtheir advice. Although sexist and patriarchal as their times,the universal ethical values and methods of attaining them arewell thought out and available to everyone. The detailed regulationsof the rules of propriety could become rigid and tyrannical tofree expression if they are slavishly followed, and the emphasison the traditions of past heroes and excessive respect for elderscould also lead to a rigid social culture dominated by traditionand the older generation. Yet this tendency was already in Chineseculture before Confucius, whose ethical principles at least providedan opportunity to moderate such dominance. The Confucian influencein Chinese culture was to be immense, but how it was practicedin the coming centuries still needs to be examined.
But the need for emphasis on social ethics in modern India cannot be denied. For timeshave changed; the conception of Dharma, which was the foundation of Hindu life, bothindividual and social, has greatly lost its hold upon the people. The struggle forexistence in an increasingly competitive society has become keen, and wealth is not justlydistributed. The strong often invoke the law of karma to justify their exploitation of thepoor, who are helpless in their suffering. There exists in India a widespread misery dueto ignorance, poverty, ill health, and general backwardness. The rich and the powerful areoften too selfish to remove these drawbacks. Hinduism in the past has no doubt producedmany saints; but the precious gems of their spiritual realizations have been preserved inheaps of dirt and filth.