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The Hsiao King or Classic of Filial Piety
James Legge


Title: The Hsiao King or Classic of Filial Piety

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Many Chinese critics contend that this brief treatise was thus designated by Confucius himself, and that it received the distinction of being styled a King before any of the older and more important classics.

Humanism is at the core in Confucianism. A simple way to appreciate Confucian thought is to consider it as being based on varying levels of honesty, and a simple way to understand Confucian thought is to examine the world by using the logic of humanity. In practice, the primary foundation and function of Confucianism is as an ethical philosophy to be practiced by all the members of a society. Confucian ethics is characterized by the promotion of virtues, encompassed by the Five Constants, or the Wuchang, extrapolated by Confucian scholars during the Han Dynasty. The five virtues are Ren (Humaneness), Yi (Righteousness or Justice), Li (Propriety or Etiquette), Zhi (Knowledge), Xin (Integrity). They are accompanied by the classical Sizi with four virtues: Zhong (Loyalty), Xiao (Filial piety), Jie (Continency), Yi (Righteousness). There are still many other elements, such as Cheng (honesty), Shu (kindness and forgiveness), Lian (honesty and cleanness), Chi (shame, judge and sense of right and wrong), Yong (bravery), Wen (kind and gentle), Liang (good, kindhearted), Gong (respectful, reverent), Jian(frugal), Rang (modestly, self-­effacing). Among all elements, Ren (Humanity) and Yi (Righteousness) are fundamental. Sometimes morality is interpreted as the phantom of Humanity and Righteousness.

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