Confucius he know a ting or Chou!

Confucius is perhaps the most influential of Chinese philosophers.

According to Chinese tradition, the thinker, political figure, and educator Confucius was born over 500 years before Christ. In Records of the Grand Historian (Shiji), his ancestors are indentified as members of the Royal State of Song. However, his great grandfather, fleeing the turmoil in his native Song, had moved to Lu, somewhere near the present town of Qufu in southeastern Shandong, where the family became impoverished.
Confucius endured a poverty-stricken, humiliating childhood and youth. He studied ritual with the Daoist Master Lao Dan, music with Chang Hong, and the lute with music-master Xiang. In middle age Confucius gathered about him a group of disciples whom he taught, and devoted himself to political matters in Lu. His recorded age at death, ‘seventy-two,’ is a ‘magic number’ in early Chinese literature.
Politicians would do well to heed his advice. Of how much of their ranting and raving could we say, “A superior man is modest in his speech, but excels in his actions.”  How are politicians going to pay for their promises without raising taxes and borrowing even more money?
Confucius knew that we must choose our leaders well; there is no place for mean-spirited dictators who brook no opposition for “an oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger.”
In this time of election fever, pretty pictures will be painted of an inglorious past. Failures will be forgotten, but Confucius reminds us that you cannot escape your history, for “ no matter where you go, there you are.”
You may feel that the present government is less than perfect. But take care not to choose those who end up giving you wòch for as Confucius says, “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.”  Which is the better choice, the party with the helpful rich friends, or the party with nobody to turn to?
Confucius had a lot to say about education. “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”                 Think about the recent past, choose to copy what you did right the last time, and remember why you rejected the others; learn from your experiences. By the way, it is obvious that politicians have somehow (subconsciously?) followed the teachings of Confucius, for they know, unemployable as are some of them, that if you “choose a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Do politicians live by their own rules, or do they consider themselves “different” from the rest of the population?
Confucius advises us not to “impose on others what you yourself do not desire.” But isn’t that what our leaders do every day? Do they live as we live? Do we share their privileges?
When voting, think of the future. Has education improved in the past years? Will it improve in years to come? Confucius says: “If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people.” Perhaps this is a good point at which to pause in our perusal of Confucian sayings and turn instead to a tale with a moral.
Chinese legends tell us that once upon a time there was a small state in the middle of nowhere. The people were harmonious, industrious and, generally speaking, happy under the benevolent leadership of Jonjii and his wife Janjii, who at the amazing
age of eighty-two bore
him twin sons, Kinjii and Kenjii.
The citizens continued their daily life far from the rest of the world until one day their universe was turned upside down by a violent storm that raged for a “night that lasted twenty years” leaving their homes devastated, their livelihoods in ruins, and their beloved leader dead.
The storms covered the whole world. Economies were ruined. Businesses crashed. Crops failed. People of all nations saw their savings dwindle to nothing. Crime flourished—and the rich grew richer as the poor grew poorer.
In the small state in the middle of nowhere, the two sons Kinjii and Kenjii had aged during the magical night of the storm and emerged the next dawn as strapping young men, both eager to take up the mantle of their deceased father. The villagers were unsure of which son to choose so the choice was left to their leader’s widow Janjii, who, naturally enough chose Kinjii, her favorite who, though a modest and mild plodder, was steady and reliable, unlike his brother Kenjii, who was volatile and given to spiteful rages and tantrums.
The 20-year night, as it came to be known, marked a turning point in the fortunes of the small state in the middle of nowhere. The rains stayed away, crops died, cattle perished and the population was compelled to eat roots. No matter how hard they toiled, they were unable to feed themselves and the future looked grim until one day, from over the horizon and across the sea there appeared a stranger at their gates. Kinjii went out to greet him
‘Who are you, stranger? Welcome to our village. Where do you come from? We have but little, but what we have is yours to share.” The questions were many, but the stranger merely smiled, “I have come from a land far away, over the horizon and across the seas. I have come to help.”
“How?” asked a puzzled Kinjii, “how can one man help so many in distress? We toil from dawn to dusk to no avail. Our crops fail; we have no treasures; our houses are falling about our ears; our hospital is collapsing; the rains stay away and when they do come the waters will wash everything
away; we have no drains; we . . .”
The stranger silenced him with a gentle gesture. “Let us sit a while and I will listen, and when I have listened I shall give you what you need.” And so it came to pass that the gentle stranger from the land over the horizon and across the sea sat each day with the mild and modest Kinjii, and the two of them discussed the small state in the middle of nowhere and all the problems that had befallen it and its people.
And it further came to pass that Kenjii and the stranger from over the horizon and across the sea built bridges and drains, repaired roads, fixed hospitals, put new roofs of the schools, provided seeds to the farmers and taught the people all manner of things that would make their lives better.
Each day the man from over the horizon and across the sea and the mild and modest Kinjii viewed the results of their labours and rewarded the citizens of the small state in the middle of nowhere, so that they were able to buy food for their families, fix their own roofs, send their children to newly renovated schools and begin to see a purpose to life. Money began to change hands. There grew a hope that the future held promise, and commerce, slowly but surely, began to flourish.
Even the gods of nature began to view the small state in the middle of nowhere benignly. The sun rose every morning as always, but was not as burning hot as before. Rains fell gently when needed and stopped when the earth had received its fill. Life was still hard, but people began to prosper. The future was promising until one day Kenjii struck.
The second twin had never got over his mother’s rejection of him and he had skulked off into hiding for many a year to plan the overthrow of his brother. He was sure the people in their misery would support him, but now the mysterious stranger from over the horizon and across the sea had changed all that.
Suddenly there was hope; life was worth living. It was true that Kinjii was still just as hesitant as ever but that didn’t matter. The stranger from over the horizon and across the sea paid for goods, provided work for the people, helped them rebuild their homes, schools, factories, villages and hospitals, and provided them with money to spend so that shopkeepers could sell their goods and replenish their stocks. Farmers that had planted the seeds given to them by the stranger from over the horizon and across the sea saw healthy young plants grow and flourish.
It seemed that overnight that the small state in the middle of nowhere had become self-sufficient in vegetables and fruits; even livestock began to multiply and provide meat for the tables of the citizens of the small state in the middle of nowhere. Kenjii knew that something had to be done before the aid and assistance given by the stranger made people happy, prosperous and content again. It was time for Kenjii to act
The next day, when the stranger was sitting under a flowering tree, as was his wont, awaiting Kinjii to discuss their latest joint efforts and projects, he was surprised to see Kenjii approaching.
“I have come to tell you what to do,” said Kenjii, brusque and arrogant as ever.
“Where is your brother Kinjii?” asked the stranger. “It is with him I speak.”
‘Forget Kinjii!” spat Kenjii. “He no longer counts. It is I who will now decide how things are to be in this land. From now on, it is my land.”
“And how are things to be?” asked the stranger, a gentle, sad smile on his lips.
“ From now on,” seethed Kenjii, “you will cease giving farmers seeds; you will stop proving funds for the poor; you will no longer build roads, drains and bridges; you may no longer provide assistance to neighborhoods in need; you will stop your meddling and deal only with me!”
The stranger from over the horizon and across the seas silenced Kenjii with a subtle shake of his head and a slight frown on his brow. “Is my work finished here?” he asked.
“Of course not,” screamed Kenjii. “There is still much to do.”
“And how shall I do it, if you prevent me?” asked the stranger.
“From now on,” hissed Kenjii, ”you will do as I say and act as I tell you.”
The stranger inclined his head slightly, “And?”
“And you will give all the money to me to keep in my treasure chest. I shall be the one to decide who gets your money and how it is spent. I shall decide where your money goes! I shall be the one to keep your money safe from others. I shall determine who gets your money and who does not! Understand? Things will be different around here from now on!”
The stranger from over the horizon and across the sea, rose sadly to his feet and turned away from Kenjii for a moment in thought, his eyes to the ground.
When he raised his head, he looked Kenjii straight in the eye and quietly said, “Beggar, go seek others to beg from. My work here is finished!”

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