The Analects

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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Through reading The Analects it is easy to see why a lot of the Chinese people of that time valued the ideas of Confucius. He was constantly pursuing self-improvement and the knowledge that would help in this pursuit. Just like anybody though, he had his critics and enemies that would try to discredit him and get him to say things that went against what he had originally taught, but Confucius managed to keep his wits about him and in most cases never faltered from his original views. The book was a masterful collection of the beliefs, wisdom, and sayings of Confucius. In many ways it reminded me of the Book of Proverbs from the Bible in which there are many profound quotes or sayings to live ones life by and to also serve as a guide to become a very wise and humble man or in Confucius's case, a gentleman.

Confucius main idea behind someone being a gentleman was that this person needed to pursue or have knowledge of the Way. In The Analects the Way seems to be mostly used in terms of covering the sum total of truths about the universe and man and it is something which can be transmitted from teacher to disciple. Therefore it must be something that can be put into words. The way can also be said to be someone's way. When this is given, the way naturally can only be taken to mean the way followed by the person specified. The Way, then, is extremely difficult to define and comes very close to the term truth (Lau 11). By the descriptions given by Confucius of a gentleman we can get a fairly clear idea then of what exactly is the Way or the truth in Confucius's mind and...