The Ideal Person

The Ideal Person     1

The Ideal Person According To Confucius
Patricia Blackwell
World Religious Traditions

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Mortality was a very important subject for Confucius.   His goal was to create those who carried themselves with good moral character, dignity, grace, and to be well-spoken.   A description of the ideal person, according to Confucius, is one who possesses the knowledge to “live their life within the boundaries firmly established by Heaven” (Platostanford).   Confucius believed that the ideal person came from living out the Five Great Relationships: ren, li, shu, xiao, and wen.
Ren signified compassion as believed in the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have unto you.”   Ren’s translated in many ways: empathy, sympathy, kindness, thoughtfulness, human-heartedness, and considerate.   A motto that describes the definition of ren is, “If you want to be kind, be polite” (Molley, p. 243, 2010).
Li means good manners and is putting ren into practice behaving in an appropriate manner when expressing ones inner thoughts or intensions.   Li not only describes appropriate ways of acting but also the way one acts toward others.   Outer expressions reflect ones inner nature, or ones intention toward a particular situation, and one who fails to use this appropriate behavior is more likely to be misunderstood or mistrusted (Sonoma).
Shu is an attitude toward others that a person wants to receive when caring about others. The Confucian version states this in negative terms: “Do not do unto others what you would not wish done to yourself” (Oolongiv, p. 1, 2007).

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Referred to as the Silver Rule, it is useful when considering actions...