Benevolence, Propriety, Rectitude and Wisdom are the Only Four Principles

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1 Thessolonians 5

19 Don’t turn away God’s Spirit 20 or ignore prophecies. 21 Put everything to the test. Accept what is good 22 and don’t have anything to do with evil.

Matthew 27

 So the words of the prophet Jeremiah came true,

“They took
    the thirty silver coins,
the price of a person
    among the people of Israel.
10 They paid it
    for a potter’s field,
as the Lord
    had commanded me.”


Confucian ethics are at the core of the East Asian culture. today  With  the  rapid  Westernization of Asia  many  are  discarding Confucian  values  and  codes;  nevertheless  for  thousands  of  years  its  moral philosophy has guided family life and molded the conduct of kings with the values of benevolence, righteousness and propriety. Father Moon has high regard for Confucian moral teachings; he calls them “close to the laws of heaven.” the Confucian Five relations of parents and children, ruler and subject, husband and wife, elder and younger siblings, and among friends define what he believes is a superior ethic for all humanity.

 Father Moon holds that God inspired Confucianism. He affirms that in its concept of heaven, Confucianism presents a notion of God, however vague. Confucianism’s weakness, he explains, is its vague understanding of God (heaven) and as a consequence its inability to properly link heaven and earth in daily life. Then, with profound insight, he proceeds to offer a solution that utilizes the best of Confucianism: the relationship between God and human beings is a parent-child relationship, and its ethic is one of Confucian filial piety. In other words, we should attend God as we would our own parents, and the Confucian ethic supplies the best description as to what that attendance requires.

1. Confucian Ethics

Oh, how great is the divine moral law of the sage Confucius. Overflowing and illimitable, it gives birth and life to all created things and towers high up to the very heavens. How magnificent it is! How imposing the three hundred principles and three thousand rules of conduct! They await the man who can put the system into practice.
    Doctrine of the Mean 27
When one follows unswervingly on the path of virtue it is not to win advancement. When one invariably keeps one’s word it is not to establish the rectitude of one’s actions. A gentleman merely follows the norm and awaits his destiny.
    Mencius VII.B.33
From the Son of Heaven [the emperor] down to the common people, all must regard cultivation of the personal life as the root or foundation. There is never a case where the root is in disorder and yet the branches are in order. |
    Great Learning
Benevolence (jen), rectitude (i), propriety (li), and wisdom (chih)… There are only these four principles. There is nothing else.
    Chu Hsi

    What is the foundation of natural benevolence (jen)? The heart that sympathizes with pain. What is the foundation of a commitment to the common good (i)? The heart that is repelled by vice. What is the foundation of respect for social and religious forms (li)? The heart that is willing to defer. And what is the foundation for wisdom (chih)? The heart that can tell true from false.
    People have these four foundations like they have four limbs. A man who says he cannot practice them is calling himself a criminal. A man who says the ruler cannot practice them is calling the ruler a criminal.
    Everybody has these four foundations in himself. If these four foundations can be filled in on a broad scale, it will be like a fire starting up, it will be like a spring bursting through. If they can be filled in, it will be enough to create and preserve the world order. Leave them unfilled, it will be impossible for a man to take care of his father and mother.
    Mencius II.A.6
The gentleman works upon the trunk. When that is firmly set up, the Way grows. And surely proper behavior towards parents and elder brothers is the trunk of Goodness?
    Analects 1.2
Now filial piety is the root of all virtue, and the stem out of which grows all moral teaching… Our bodies—to every hair and bit of skin—are received by us from our parents, and we must not presume to injure or wound them: this is the beginning of filial piety. When we have established our character by the practice of the filial course, so as to make our name famous in future ages, and thereby glorify our parents: this is the end of filial piety. It commences with the service of parents; it proceeds to the service of the ruler; it is completed by the establishment of [good] character.
    Classic on Filial Piety 1
What are “the things which men consider right”? Kindness on the part of the father, and filial duty on that of the son; gentleness on the part of the elder brother, and obedience on that of the younger; righteousness on the part of the husband, and submission on that of the wife; kindness on the part of elders, and deference on that of juniors; with benevolence on the part of the ruler, and loyalty on that of the minister—these ten are the things which men consider to be right.
    Book of Ritual 7.2.19

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