January 1, 2009

Commentary on The Analects, by Confucius

Posted in Character, Islam, Knowledge, Literature, Quotes, Sufism at 8:23 am by faith786

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum,

(Technically someone wrote down what Confucius said and put it in The Analects, so technically it is not by him.) I recently received the book as a gift from a Hindu (get that?) and I found it rather interesting.

Couple of the sayings struck a chord that I wanted to share with you.

—Confucius said: The noble minded guard against three things: in youth, when ch’i and blood are unsettled, they guard against beautiful women; in their prime, when ch’i and the blood are unbending, they guard against belligerence; and in old age, when ch’i and blood are withering, they guard against avarice. —(Chapter XVI saying 188 )

*FYI–ch’i is considered a spiritual force the flows in the body and slightly correlates with one’s actions or the world around the person. When ch’i is at balance, so is the person and the world around them and so a person tries to achieve this. (Kind of like inner peace, but ch’i is also connected to a person’s life line.) [If anyone has a better description, please yell it on my blog.]

Anyway, you see a theme in Confucianism of guarding the self. Similar to Islam and majority spiritual sects of different religions. But Confucius points out human beings have different problems as they enter different phases of life, which was one thing people should think about. Life is constantly changing, and so we should guard ourselves to make sure our inner peace remains untouched.

—The Master said: “Someone’s words may be true and sincere–but does that mean they’re noble-minded or just full of pretense?” —(Chapter XI Saying 21)

This is rather self-explanatory. Answer–either. Another thing to look at: both Islam and Confucianism promote being genuine. (Well, majority religions do, but people should keep that in mind before kissing up to someone for some personal gain.)

—The Master said: “We’re all the same by nature. It’s living that makes us so different. –(Chapter XVII Saying 2)

SO TRUE. We are all atomically 96% similar (men and women). We all have the same needs–food, water, shelter, clothing, security, etc. We all have the innate sense of good (Muslim philosophy, granted.). But the way we live is what makes us all so different–for better or worse.

—The Master said: “Above all, be loyal and stand by your words. Befriend only those who are kindred spirits. And when you are wrong, don’t be afraid to change.” –(Chapter IX Saying 25)

This is a VERY Islamic saying and even in a hadith, Rasulullah mentioned that we should befriend good company and be honest. (And not being afraid to change if you are wrong is self development and learning, which are also in hadiths.) I also wonder if Emerson would argue the first part of the quote because he thinks consistency can be a destructive thing, but I think in the context of the quote, it means to keep a promise or be truthful. It is up to you to interpret.

Hoped you like them! …More later….



  1. Noreen said,

    The last quote was inspiring!

    It does seem like Confucianism is a lot like Islam. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. faith786 said,

    Thank you for all your comments. I guess you read my blog a bit often. =)

    The Analects is a rather confusing book just because I think there is a huge historical context I don’t know because I simply don’t know history. =) I would have shared more, but I need to read up on Chinese history.

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