Confucian Chalice Lightings

One of the more interesting search engine hits that led to this page earlier this week was “Confucius Chalice Lightings.” Why it led here is a mystery. But since there apparently is a need for such things, here are a few suggestions for chalice lighting words taken from the Analects, the most important text of the Confucian tradition. If this relates to liberal religion in any way, perhaps it is because Confucianism is at heart a type of humanism, though quite different from the usual Western understanding of such things.

“Having only course food to eat, plain water to drink, and a bent arm for a pillow, one can still find happiness therein. Riches and honor acquired by unrighteous means are to me as drifting clouds.”

“If I am not to be a man among other men, then what am I to be?”

“At fifteen, I set my heart on learning. At thirty, I was firmly established. At forty, I had no more doubts. At fifty, I knew the will of heaven. At sixty, I was ready to listen to it. [Finally,] at seventy I could follow my heart’s desire without transgressing what was right.”

“When walking in a group of three, I always have teachers. I can select the good qualities of the one for imitation, and the bad ones of the other and correct them in myself.”

“By nature men are pretty much alike–it is learning and practice that set them apart.”

“Personal cultivation begins with poetry, is made firm by propriety, and is perfected by music.”

“You look up to it and it seems so high. You try to drill through it and it seems so hard. You seem to see it in front of you, and all of a sudden it appears behind you.”

“Tzu-Kung asked, ‘Is there any one word that can serve as a principle for the conduct of life?’ Confucius said, ‘Perhaps the word reciprosity. Do not do to others what you would not want others to do to you.'”

“The humane man, desiring to be established himself, seeks to establish others. Desiring himself to succeed, he helps others to succeed. To judge others by what one knows of oneself is the method of achieving humanity.”

“Riches and honor are what every man desires, but if they can be obtained only by transgressing the right way, they must not be held. Poverty and lowliness are what every man detests, but if they can be avoided only by transgressing the right way, they must not be evaded.”

“Tsu Lu asked about the worship of ghosts and spirits. Confucius said, ‘We don’t know yet how to serve men, how can we know about serving the spirits?’ The next question was ‘What about death?” Confucius said, ‘We don’t know yet about life, how an we know about death?'”

“You may be able to carry off from a whole army its commander, but you cannot deprive the humblest individual of his will.”

“The gentleman makes demands on himself. The inferior man makes demands on others.”

“The gentleman understands what is right. The inferior man understands what is profitable.”


1 Comment

Filed under Unitarian-Universalism

One response to “Confucian Chalice Lightings

  1. Emily

    I can only hope the original googler googles again and finds this post, which is sure to help the person on his/her search!

    (PS – I’m glad to have figured out somehow – very belatedly – that your blog is up and running once more!)

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