Search Results for Heaven
Heaven is a place where nothing… nothing ever happens.
If taken literally, this song lyric from the mid-1970s to early 90s pop group Talking Heads represents a view of heaven that was probably influenced by a particular New York City intellectual/arts scene.
Apart from that kind of Zen outlook, we find as many different ideas about the nature of heaven as there are people who’ve speculated on it.
Heaven is difficult to know about, because it seems that, if it truly does exist, one must pass on to experience its fullness.
The Hebrew Old Testament (OT) emphasizes a select few outstanding individuals who will see God “face to face.” And some passages indicate that God resides in a “high” place (Psalm 19:2-5). But the OT also says that the dead seem to, somewhat like the ancient Greek and Mesopotamian departed, meet their ancestors in an underworld (sheol).
The “heavens” (plural) in the OT is an inverted dome above the disc of the earth, separating the waters above and below (Genesis 1:6-9).
In the Christian New Testament the aim of Jesus’ ministry is to invite all of God’s chosen to join him “at the right hand of the Father” to enjoy a new vision of heaven, a heaven where anyone is welcome.
Several NT passages speak directly to “losing one’s life” in this transient world to gain a lasting, true and happy existence in heaven.
As for the constitution of heaven, Christ speaks in parables and metaphors because it’s too glorious to be described literally. Throughout history orthodox and unorthodox Christians have depicted countless types of heaven, some on the basis of mystical vision, others on the basis of speculation and others, perhaps, on the basis of some combination of mystical experience and cultural filters.
Pseudo-Dionysus, or Dionysus the Areopagite, spoke of three levels of heaven, each inhabited by different kinds of spiritual beings. St. Thomas Aquinas notes that Dionysus’ view of heaven is supported by scripture. And the general Christian understanding is also scriptural. The NT says there are “many mansions” in God’s house (John 14:2).
For some saints and (often) ascetic mystics, heaven may be partially experienced as a blessed union with God, united as ‘husband and wife.’ This may involve beholding the “face” and being “illumined” by the glory of God to become like an angel (Matthew 22:30, Mark: 12:25), “neither male nor female” (Galatians 3:28).
For many good and honorable worldly persons, heaven is usually seen as a blissful, carefree environment where one reunites with deceased friends and loved ones.
The Islamic Koran speaks of a land of “flowing, crystal streams” that awaits God’s elect. Some criticize Islam for having a simplistic view of heaven, while others say that the Koranic view is allegorical.
Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism all affirm heavens, although not as permanent abodes. By and large, the heavens of Asian religion are taken as stepping stones for the reincarnating soul whose ultimate aim is to achieve the unity of atman-brahman (Hinduism), nirvana (Buddhism) and jin (liberation in Jainism).
Many schools of Buddhism don’t posit any soul whatsoever, only the illusion of a soul.This matters if one it to see heaven as a union of the personal, created self, with the creator. In Buddhism the self just disappears once one realizes it never was. What happens after – experientially speaking – depends on which Buddhist school one believes in.
Contemporary reports about the existence and character of heaven come from those who’ve undergone Near Death Experiences (NDE).
The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung had a NDE but he didn’t experience heaven in the traditional Christian sense (Jung’s father was a Lutheran pastor). In his Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1963), Jung describes dying as something like “stepping out of a tight-fitting shoe.” He says that after seeing the Earth from space and feeling a deep serenity, Jung was resuscitated and unhappily returned to his body.
Some believe that aliens (ETs) are indistinguishable from angels. But most religious and spiritually-minded people do not uncritically believe that ET’s derive from heaven. The cosmic heavens of astronomical observations, they say, are of a far lower order than the heaven experienced by bona fide saints. Likewise, angels are often said to reside in an entirely different order of reality than the observable universe.
Heaven is also said to lie beyond and above the so-called ‘astral’ realms where New Age enthusiasts tell us that energy beings apparently exist. Some pro-ET figures like Rael believe that angels and aliens are highly similar, if not identical.
The celebrated mythographer, Joseph Campbell, argues in The Hero With a Thousand Faces (1968) that “heaven doesn’t exist” because it would take too long for the Virgin Mary, travelling at the speed of light, to get there. Here Campbell, despite his impressive erudition, entirely misses the point that heaven is a different reality, beyond and above the observable universe and its apparent laws of time and motion.
- Heart Sutra (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Jin (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- I Ching (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Dad, the weed, and the NDE (thebelletolls.wordpress.com)
- No Minorities In Heaven? (truelogic.wordpress.com)
- “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven” (worryisuseless.wordpress.com)
- How Can I Go to Heaven (wiki.answers.com)
- Secrets to Life, the Shroud of Turin, and Heaven’s Mysteries Revealed (prweb.com)
- Why “Through Him With Him In Him”? (throughhimwithhiminhim.wordpress.com)
- What do you think of religion? (cozyblanketsnowflakerepetitioncompulsion.wordpress.com)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was a German composer and musician born in Eisenach. He’s often described as one of the greatest Western classical composers.
Orphaned at the age of 10, Johann Sebastian was raised by his brother, Johann Christoph (1671-1721), who taught him the organ and clavier.
A devout Lutheran, biographers note that Bach was a perfectionist to the point of beating his students when they made mistakes. Nevertheless, his polyphonic inventions raised the existing Baroque tradition to a new and unsurpassed level of magnificence.
In 1711 he was kapellmeister (orchestra leader) to Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen, composing the Brandenburg Concertos (1721) and The Well-tempered Clavier (1722). In 1723 he was cantor (director of church music) of the St Thomas School in Leipzig, writing cantatas, including the St Matthew Passion (1727), the Mass in B Minor and The Art of Fugue.
Pianist Angela Hewitt notes that the move from kapellmeister to cantor was a professional step down for Bach, “but he knew that Leipzig would be a better place to educate his children.” She adds that Bach wanted better instruments and performing musicians but his requests were repeatedly refused by authorities in Leipzig who didn’t appreciate his rare genius.¹
Almost entirely blind at his death, his work as a composer was not fully recognized until the following century. During his lifetime he was known mostly as an organist. This oversight is ironic as many today speak as if he snatched music from heaven for the benefit of mankind.
His influence reverberates throughout classical, jazz, and even pop music. The Canadian pianist Glenn Gould came to love Bach over all the other composers. Gould recorded the Goldberg Variations twice, once in analog and later in an early digital studio. Sales of those records, especially the analog recording, reached all-time highs for classical music.
A 1934-36 recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations BWV.988, Italian Concerto BWV.971 and Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue BWV.903 by keyboardist Wanda Landowska has been marketed by EMI records as a “great recording of the century,” despite the sound quality being subpar. And Landowska’s rendition of The Well Tempered Clavier – tinny sound and all – makes a lasting impression on anyone sensitive to great moments in recorded music.
Along with Mozart and Beethoven, Bach stands out as one of The Big Three, whose works Polish composer Henryk Górecki described as the “bread and butter” of the classical repertoire.
¹ Angela Hewitt, liner notes from Bach, The Six Partitas, Hyperion: 1997. This CD has a soft but definitive touch that makes Hewitt my favorite contemporary Bach pianist. (MC)
- who do you prefer musically bach or beethoven? (johann-sebastian-bach.information-about-music.com)
- Bach and Handel (Their Influence On Future Composers) (johann-sebastian-bach.information-about-music.com)
- Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician (johann-sebastian-bach.information-about-music.com)
- Bachs: A Bach Notebook for Trumpet – review (guardian.co.uk)
- Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and his oboe concerti (walkerhomeschoolblog.wordpress.com)
- Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach and his Concerto for Harpsichord and Orchestra in EM (walkerhomeschoolblog.wordpress.com)
- Johann Sebastian Bach (walkerhomeschoolblog.wordpress.com)
- Luther and Bach (bachandsons.wordpress.com)
- 31 Day Music Challenge: Day 10 A Song that Makes You Fall Asleep (susannenelson.wordpress.com)
- Bach Unwrapped, Kings Place, review (telegraph.co.uk)
Book of Isaiah – Isaiah, son of Amoz, was a statesman, counselor to Kings and a prophet in the Old Testament around the 8th-century BCE. He apparently lived in Jerusalem, having a profound influence in the Kingdom of Judah.
Like many other books in the Bible, scholars question the authorship of the Book of Isaiah. While some fundamentalists still believe that all of the books of the Bible were written by the authors ascribed to them, contemporary biblical scholars generally agree that the prophetic book written in Isaiah’s name contains material from at least two other unnamed prophets, known as Deutero-Isaiah and Trito-Isaiah.
The Isaiah recorded in the Bible shows some hostility towards his political enemies, but this is tempered by his hope for a better future that he never sees… not in this world, anyhow. Wikipedia nicely sums up the bulk of Isaiah:
The first 39 chapters prophesy doom for a sinful Judah and for all the nations of the world that oppose God, while the last 27 prophesy the restoration of the nation of Israel and a new creation in God’s glorious future kingdom; this section includes the Songs of the Suffering Servant, four separate passages referring to the nation of Israel, interpreted by Christians as prefiguring the coming of Jesus Christ.¹
In Trito-Isaiah God reveals his total sovereignty over human life and thought:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are my ways your ways, says the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.²
After the Assyrian invasion of 701 BCE, it is generally believed that Isaiah was martyred.
² Isaiah 55 : 8-9 . This is one of my favorite Biblical passages and it was instrumental in my conversion to Catholicism. During a transitional stage in my life a non-Catholic Christian, quite out of the blue, suggested I read Isaiah 55 : 6-9. When I did, the power of the words hit me hard and I eventually converted to Catholicism. Interestingly, the numbers 55 and 69 had already been personally significant for several years prior, in a sort of ongoing synchronistic way. So hearing the Christian suggest I read that particular passage, and the effect it had on me, contained special significance. It seems that God usually works that way (MC).
- Book of Isaiah (altruistico.wordpress.com)
- Isaiah the prophet, son of Amoz (sharperthanatwoedgedsword.wordpress.com)
- Fear Leads To Spiritual Darkness (nweatherhead.wordpress.com)
- The Beginning (discoveringisaiah.wordpress.com)
- Starting Monday off with a message from God (aliendad.wordpress.com)
- “What should we learn from the life of Isaiah?” (altruistico.wordpress.com)
- Who is the “Man of Sorrows” in Isaiah 53? (verse4psalm37.wordpress.com)
- Status Report Day 98 (journeyofthebible.wordpress.com)
According to Buddhist legend, the Bodhi Tree the tree under which the seated Buddha-to-be resolved to find Truth.
Apparently the future Buddha was first pursued by demons and then received what he believed were heavenly visions.
Rejecting both as temporary and unreal, he attained Nirvana, which for him and his followers is the ultimate, true and unchanging reality.
The term Bodhi Tree also refers to a number of trees that Buddists believe are descendents from the original Bodhi Tree. Wikipedia explains:
The Bodhi tree at the Mahabodhi Temple is called the Sri Maha Bodhi. According to Buddhist texts the Buddha, after his Enlightenment, spent a whole week in front of the tree, standing with unblinking eyes, gazing at it with gratitude.¹
Buddhists preach about non-detachment and anatman (no-self) and yet, like adherents of most other religions, tend to venerate a whole series of ritualistic objects, from this kind of tree to well-kept rock gardens. In fact, one could argue that some Buddhist monasteries – not unlike some Christian monasteries – appear more like well-funded middle class havens instead of a place where any kind of real letting go of worldly things occurs.
That would be fine if admitted as such. But the sanctimonious preaching about renunciation that often comes from these places sometimes seems facile and, perhaps, a touch hypocritical.
Related Posts » Buddhism
- Why Bodhi Tree? (vijayaraman.com)
- March 18, 2013 Critical Commentary: THE HOLY BODHI LEAF AT MAHABODHI TEMPLE (worldreligionnews.wordpress.com)
- Under the Bodhi Tree (lifeisavacation.wordpress.com)
- Roots (cloakedmonk.com)
- Buddha Groove Adds New and Artistic Buddha Statues (prweb.com)
- Zen (noontimephotography.com)
William Blake (1757-1827) was an English engraver, painter, poet and mystic born in London.
Like visionaries from most world religions, Blake believed that a spiritual light exists behind the world of appearances. His writings and art mostly refer to philosophical, mythological and biblical themes.
Unlike artists who use abstraction to hint at a perceived yet normally unseen reality, Blake’s imagery is quite direct as he attempts to portray his perception of inner light, according to his own vision.
He differs from mainstream Christianity by emphasizing the importance of spontaneous, unguided and unchecked spiritual experience. At times his work is reminiscent of Gnosticism, especially when saying the self and the Godhead may be one. Blake’s beliefs differ from both Catholicism and Gnosticism, however, in that he seems to imply that good and evil are relative ideas constructed by the regimented mind.
This relativistic view is especially apparent in his so-called ‘minor prophecy’, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1791), an arguably grandiose work of undisciplined introspection that leans towards a nebulous, incomplete kind of Buddhism. While not without its literary merit, and also containing a few worthwhile critiques of religious hypocrisy, Heaven and Hell seems to reflect Blake’s personal quest and, perhaps, limited degree of spiritual understanding. Whether it contains any universal, salvific value is a matter of debate. Some might say it’s a useful signpost along the road of spiritual formation while nonetheless incomplete. Others might say it’s misleading.
William Blake (1757-1827) was an English engraver, painter, poet and mystic born in London.
Blake’s best-known paintings are The Canterbury Pilgrims and Jacob’s Dream. He also illustrated Young’s Night Thoughts (1797), Linnell’s The Book of Job (1826), Dante’s Divine Comedy and did imaginative engravings for his own writing.
Other works include Poetical Sketches (1783), Songs of Innocence (1789), Songs of Experience (1794) which include ‘The Tyger’, and the prophetic poem ‘Jerusalem’ (1804-20).
Most of the notables around him thought he was a flake, and his work and ideas were largely unrecognized. Near the end of his life he lived in poverty, spurred on by a band of youthful admirers.
- The Tyger – William Blake (mitchellcharman.wordpress.com)
- William Blake’s Masterpiece Inadvertently Burnt in Cult Ritual (bookshopblog.com)
- William Blake – The Tyger (calebcampbell1english2230.wordpress.com)
- Romantic poets (emangull29.wordpress.com)
- The Hellish Proverbs of a B Student (connorwilliammarr.wordpress.com)
- Introduction to Songs of Innocence by William Blake (stuffjeffreads.wordpress.com)
- Introduction to Songs of Experience by William Blake (stuffjeffreads.wordpress.com)
- The Works of William Blake (spr07.wordpress.com)
- London – William Blake (xbarsigma.wordpress.com)
- My Mission: Uncovering the Invisible (emilyviemeister.wordpress.com)
Beatnik is a slightly derogatory, superficial or amusing (depending on how one looks at it) term for those belonging to the 1950s youth subculture called the Beat Generation. In the 1960s the term also described listeners of rock and roll, hippies and those advocating anti-authoritarian lifestyles and social arrangements.
Wikipedia puts it this way:
Beatnik was a media stereotype of the 1950s to mid-1960s that displayed the more superficial aspects of the Beat Generation literary movement of the 1950s and violent film images, along with a cartoonish depiction of the real-life people and the spiritual quest in Jack Kerouac‘s autobiographical fiction.
The beatniks wore unconventional dress, hairstyles, imbibed in psychotropic drugs and listened to jazz and bebop. Among Beat writers Jack Kerouac (On the Road, Dharma Bums), William S. Burroughs‘s Naked Lunch (1959) and poet Allen Ginsberg reigned supreme.
The first line from Ginsberg’s “Howl” (1955) epitomizes the dark side of the Beat Generation:
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters, burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night.
From this, it seems a bit simplistic to suggest the Beatnik culture was an entirely positive spiritual quest. From a Catholic perspective, illegal drug use rarely, if ever, culminates in genuine spirituality. It might represent a stage a seeker passes through before coming to a place where he or she can appreciate an experience of true grace and holiness later in life. But drug use, itself, arguably messes with the mind (and brain) and obscures the pure spirituality of the Holy Spirit.
On the other hand, it would be equally simplistic to entirely dismiss the insights and societal benefits that came out of the movement. Like anything, one has to sift through the entire phenomenon to discern the good from the bad.
I Feel Like Saying A Beatnik Poem 1950′s B Movie Style
On the World Wide Web:
The Beatniks (video, 1960)
Related Posts » James Dean
- The Beat Generation Then And Now – OpEd (albanytribune.com)
- To the Beat of Our Own Drum: My Life Among the Beat Generation (enotes.com)
- The Beat Generation Then And Now (papundits.wordpress.com)
- Scorched Earth And Dharma Bums……..Jack Kerouac 3/12/22-10/21/69 (rockandrolldoctor.wordpress.com)
- The Beat Generation Then And Now (oyiabrown.com)
- Movie review: On The Road (o.canada.com)
- Michael Hogan: Why Is Harry Potter Having Gay Beatnik Sex At Sundance? (huffingtonpost.com)
- Allen Ginsberg photos recall Beat generation (rawstory.com)
- Sundance ’13: ‘Kill Your Darlings’ is ‘The Social Network’ for The Beats (firstshowing.net)
- ‘The Naked Lunch’ crowd meets (examiner.com)
Cults and Religions – What’s the difference?
Many debate the differences between religion and cults. Some say there’s no difference. In other words, religions are cults and cults are religions. But this kind of thinking arguably doesn’t do justice to the complexities of faith and the supernatural.
One difference seems to be that, in a cult, a charismatic leader is undeservedly glorified. Some say that this would make Abraham, Jesus Christ, Mohammad, Buddha and Mahavira cult leaders. But cults also display a relatively short longevity (after the leader dies, the cult dwindles away). This didn’t happen in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or Jainism. So they can’t be called cults by that standard.
Another difference is that cults typically isolate new members from their families and unbelievers. Religions tend to be less drastic, with most (not all, mind you) accepting interfaith relationships.
Steven Hassan, an expert on cults, says
Since all destructive cults believe that the ends justify the means, they believe themselves to be above the law. As long as they believe that what they are doing is “right” and “just,” many of them think nothing of lying, stealing, cheating, or unethically using mind control to accomplish their ends. They violate, in the most profound and fundamental way, the civil liberties of the people they recruit. They turn unsuspecting people into slaves. ¹
Others say the difference between religions and cults is a matter of degree, especially with those religions and cults that attract, institutionally legitimize and reproduce authoritarian personality types and the legalistic beliefs and structured practices that these individuals participate in.
In these instances, religious or cultic affiliation apparently provides a convenient means for the psychologically immature to overlook unresolved emotional issues. Accordingly, some critics of religion maintain that religious affiliation provides a safe but essentially cowardly means for unleashing centuries of culturally and perhaps genetically inherited anger onto those who don’t wish to sacrifice their free will to the dictates of an institution. These critics say that most religious institutions must incorporate (or reject) new developments within the context of their limiting teachings and traditions.
This too, seems somewhat simplistic. For religious believers will often say they are fully choosing to cooperate with God’s will as progressively revealed to them within their particular religious organization. Apparently there’s a richness in their spiritual life that the secular critics just don’t get. And individuals belonging to orgqanizations seen by outsiders as cults often say the same thing. “You don’t understand…”
This can make it difficult to tell the difference between a religion and a cult. Meanwhile, many new religions are cropping up. And some say they’re nothing more than cheap covers created by creepy masterminds aiming to get tax breaks on donations made by gullible believers.
When in doubt, draw a chart
One of the definitions for “cult” in Merriam-Websters dictionary is: “a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents.”
The following chart compares some of the main beliefs and practices found within religions and cults. This is not the final word. The items in each column don’t universally apply and many of the distinctions made in this chart are debatable. In keeping with the classical sociologist Max Weber, however, this chart offers ideal types.
Ideal types are generalized constructs. They don’t provide precise definitions and they’re not comprehensive. But they are thought-provoking. And that’s their main purpose.
Above chart elaborates on many sources, including Gregg Stebben’s Everything You Need to Know About Religion (The Pocket Professor, Denis Boyles ed., New York: Pocket Books, 1999: 25-26).
¹ Steven Hassan, Combatting Cult Mind Control, Rochester: Park Street Press, 1988, p. 36.
- The beauty and the pain of fundamentalist religion (vridar.wordpress.com)
- Scientology Founder’s Great Grandson Denounces Religion As A Dangerous Cult! (perezhilton.com)
- Granddaughter Of Westboro Baptist Church Founder Defects From Hate-Cult To Speak Out (VIDEO) (addictinginfo.org)
- Scientology should NOT be protected as a religion… (girlygirl.typepad.com)
- Mexican Authorities Raid Sex Slavery Cult Led By Reincarnated Christ Figure (disinfo.com)
- Claimed By The Cult: A Mother’s Fight To Rescue Her Son-Author Recounts Experience Saving Her Son From A Religious Cult (paramuspost.com)
- Author Geneva Paulson Recounts Experience Saving Her Son from a Religious Cult in New Book (prweb.com)
- “Cathy Don’t Go”: A religious cult’s lost new-wave gem (chicagoreader.com)
Cosmology is a term used by anthropologists, philosophers, scholars of religion and theologians to denote an individual or group understanding of the world, the universe and beyond. This “map” may or may not include an account of creation.
In contemporary science the term cosmology denotes the creation, structure and evolution of the universe, as with the Big Bang theory.
For all their social legitimacy and status, from a spiritual standpoint modern scientific cosmologies can fall short by ignoring the possibilities of hellish, purgatorial, astral and heavenly realms that could permeate and interact with life on Earth and, indeed, life throughout the universe (assuming life exists beyond our planet).
Perhaps most scientific cosmologists in the 21st century are so focused on their way of seeing the world that there’s little or no room in their hearts, minds and souls to experience numinosity. If they did, they’d probably revise their theories to make them more comprehensive.
Cosmology arguably bears a direct relation to ethics. But these two spheres of inquiry are usually kept apart by philosophers, scholars and theologians. This arbitrary separation of cosmology and ethics has its pitfalls. For instance, a dominant cosmology that excludes the importance of numinosity is probably not going to seriously consider persons claiming to experience numinosity. As a result, persons of numinosity might be marginalized and discriminated against.
While many may naively suppose that science pins down truth, a look at the range of current scientific cosmologies (note: plural) will hopefully dispel that belief.
Instead of truth, what we arguably find is a group of stories, not entirely unlike the ancient myths that preceded them. True, these more recent stories are based on scientific (i.e. measurable and replicable) observation.¹ But their fragmentary nature highlights the fact that human beings cannot really grasp the whole. Not that there’s any harm in trying. But when researchers lose their sense of humility and start overreaching the limits of their observations, all sorts of problems can arise.
For an excellent list of the latest scientific imaginings, see Historical Cosmologies (the latter entries in the chart). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmology. And for a brief timeline see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_cosmology.
¹ At least, this is what we’re told. In reality fraud and deceit can creep into the halls of science, just any other human endeavor. See Broad and Wade, Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science.
- The Vertical Cosmological Argument and the Fallacy of Composition (humblesmith.wordpress.com)
- Modern Cosmology: Interactive Computer Simulations … (physicsforme.wordpress.com)
- Einstein’s “biggest blunder” beats dark energy in explaining expansion of the Universe (gizmag.com)
- “A” is for axion (Alphabet of Cosmology) (catch26.wordpress.com)
- Astronomers have found the largest structure in the universe (theverge.com)
- Stellar performances finally gain the limelight (newscientist.com)
- The Kalam Argument – Reddening the faces of atheists everywhere (ferlans.wordpress.com)
- Dynamic, dark energy in an accelerating universe (spacedaily.com)
- Astronomers discover the universe’s largest known structure (slashgear.com)
- What is the purpose of the Universe? Here is one possible answer. (io9.com)
Confucius (551-479 BCE, Latinized from K’ung-Fu-Tzu = Great Master K’ung) was a Chinese philosopher and statesman.
Born in the state of Lu (modern Shantung), Confucius was orphaned as a child and grew up in poverty. Despite this, he devoted himself to education at age 15 and married at 19. He became a teacher in 531 BCE, and in 501 BCE Governor of Chung-tu. He was then Minister of Works, and later Minister of Justice. His quest for societal reform was popular among the common folk but political enemies forced him to leave Lu. As a result, he traveled a great deal.
Do not do to others what you would not have them do to you.
Do to others as you would have them do to you (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31, prefigured in Leviticus 19:18).
In vain I have looked for a single person capable of seeing his own faults and bringing the charge home against himself.
You hypocrites, remove the plank from your own eye first, then you will see clearly to take the speck from your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:5).
A man with clever words and an ingratiating appearance is seldom a man of humanity.
Beware of false prophets who appear in sheep’s clothing but underneath are ravening wolves (Matthew 7:15).
Concerning this latter comparison, Confucius believed that humanity is, at heart, good (jen). If taught and guided by rules (li) that are in accord with the mandate of heaven (Tao), a young child naturally grows into a decent human being and attains nobility (chun tzu).
Apparently Confucius said that at age 50 he learned to control his speech, at 70 his actions were naturally aligned with the “Mandate of Heaven” and at 80 he gained mastery over his thoughts.
But some of Confucius’ ideas are rooted in ancient cultural biases that don’t fly today. For instance
Women and servants are most difficult to deal with. If you are familiar with them, they cease to be humble. If you keep a distance from them, they resent it.
This is interesting historical material but hardly a universal, timeless teaching. Following Confucius’ death in 479 BCE, various schools of Confucianism arose.
Related Posts » Face Reading
† Confucius quotations from Wing-tsit Chan, A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy, Princeton University Press, 1963.
- Confucianism (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Confucius is a Shengren (amazingchina.wordpress.com)
- Confucius Institutes and Their Difficulties Come Under Scrutiny in China (theepochtimes.com)
- Confusionism (godshmod.wordpress.com)
- Talking up Mandarin a global undertaking (chinawatch.washingtonpost.com)
- Philosophical Challenge Post (tobiasmastgrave.wordpress.com)
- SDSU’s Confucius Institute wins $1 million grant to expand (utsandiego.com)
- You: Comics to explain Confucius and other thinkers (english.people.com.cn)
- Linkage: A Lopsided ‘Confucius’ Sofa; Buildings on Stilts; More! (curbed.com)
- The Ethics Hierarchy and More Diagramming (f-art-museum.com)