Husband and wife relationship in confucianism which is a feature

Jul 10, The Confucian 'Five Relationships' is a summary of the basic human relationships distinction for the husband–wife relationship, precedence for the .. Secondly, the conservative feature of Confucian familial ethics to some. About the worst that, in the opinion of Confucius, could be said of any man, was this . The relationship was treated as not less regular than that of marriage but it this passage strongly emphasizes the function of the divine forces in the. The family unit was seen as the primary social unit; relationships within the husband-wife; parent-child; elder brother-younger brother; friend-friend. The ruler's main function in the Confucian state was to educate and transform the people.

The first and third of the "five relationships" — i. The notion of the role of the state as guarantor of the people's welfare developed very early, along with the monarchy and the bureaucratic state. It was also assumed that good government could bring about order, peace, and the good society. Tests of the good ruler were social stability, population growth a reflection of ancient statecraft where the good ruler was one who could attract people from other statesand ability to create conditions that fostered the people's welfare.

The Mandate of Heaven was understood as justifying the right to rule, with the corollary right to rebel against a ruler who did not fulfill his duties to the people. The state played a major role in determining water rights, famine control and relief, and insuring social stability. The state encouraged people to grow rice and other grains rather than commercial crops in order to insure and adequate food supply; it held reserves in state granaries, in part to lessen the effects of drought and floods, particularly common in northern China.

For fear of losing the Mandate of Heaven governments levied very low taxes which often meant that the government could not provide all the services expected of it, and that officials ended up extorting money from the people. The Perfectibility of Man and the Moral Role of Government The dominant strain of Confucian thought stressed the perfectibility of man.

Confucius a political philosopher who lived c. Mencius and Hsun Tzu, two of his prominent successors, held different views on human nature, Mencius arguing that it contained the seeds of goodness, and Hsun Tzu that, in its uncultivated state, human nature tended to evil.

Both, however, believed that human beings were perfectible through self-cultivation and the practice of ritual. From the 11th century onward, Neo-Confucian philosophers, engaged in the renewal and elaboration of Confucian thought, subscribed to the Mencian line, stressing the potential goodness of human nature and the importance of developing that goodness through education.

Belief in the innate goodness and perfectibility of man has had strong implications for the development of the Chinese political system. The ruler's main function in the Confucian state was to educate and transform the people. This was ideally accomplished not by legal regulation and coercion, but by personal rule, moral example, and mediation in disputes by the emperor and his officials.

Confucian political theory emphasized conflict resolution through mediation, rather than through the application of abstract rules to establish right and wrong in order to achieve social harmony. Marriage, therefore, was treated as a contract which was at all times mutual, binding only as the parties continued to consent that it should bind. Either party could with a word dissolve it. In the "Li Ki" the following account is given of the proper forms to be observed in divorcement: The messenger accompanying her then discharged his commission, saying: He has, therefore, sent me, so-and-so; and I venture to inform your officer, appointed for the purpose, of what he has done.

If the husband's father were living, he named himself as principal party; if he were dead, an elder brother of the husband acted for him and the message was given as from him; if there were no elder brother, it ran as from the husband, himself.

Though this was given in the "Li Ki" or book of the rules of propriety as a description of the customs of the ancients of high rank, it was intended, with such modifications in the matter of greater directness and simplicity as the lowliness and poverty of the parties might require, to supply rules of ceremony for the divorce of all mismated husbands and wives.

The utter absence of recrimination and abuse, p. Do we thus assure the indissolubility of the marriage tie in a degree that more than offsets the mischief which divorce actions inflict upon society?

There was, and is, even under such a system, much moral restraint upon the wife to continue such, even though not satisfied with her lot. Her prospects of a second and happier marriage are often not alluring. The reception at her own home which she may expect, is not likely to be a warm welcome and it may be cold or even harsh.

And if she has children, her lot is even more deplorable for, after very early infancy, they become members of her husband's family and are lost to her, forever.

There is also the prosaic bread-and-butter question in many cases and it is presented in an aggravated form in a country where by general consent a virtuous woman's place is in a home.

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Not the least of the mother's hardships if she be the mother of the eldest living son, who becomes, p. The hardships inflicted upon the husband by divorce may not be so serious. He must return the dower but he retains the more precious fruits of the marriage, his children. Yet consciousness of this very inequality, coupled with the traditional protective attitude toward the women of one's own family, must act upon the husband as a powerful deterrent, especially in view of the fact that he may seek through concubinage a more acceptable consort and mother for his children, without thus entirely displacing, humiliating, and perhaps greatly injuring his spouse.

In the Elder Tai's Record of Rites bk. These rules are found in the code of the Manchu dynasty, also. But in practice the only restraints upon the husband, other than the requirement that he p.

The husband and his father or elder brother are sole and final judges whether or not one of the seven causes is present. The wife may divorce her husband with his consent, which means, again, with the consent of his father or elder brother, also; and, since she must return to her father or elder brother, she must of course first obtain their consent and approval.

Divorce, then, is by the parties, themselves, and not by a court, though under certain circumstances subject to judicial review. It is not especially common in China; and monogamy is also there the rule. In other words the admonition with which the last chapter closed, is there well heeded, both as to union with but one wife and as to permanence of marriage, though both marriage and divorce are so little limited by law; as is also well said in the "Yi King" appendix vi.

He is proud of the meritorious among them and ranks those lower who are not so able. But that of a mother is such that, while she is proud of the meritorious, she cherishes p.

The mother deals with them on grounds of affection rather than of pride; the father on grounds of pride rather than affection.

The justice and discrimination which the superior man displays as a father, and without which he would act as an unreasoning animal rather than as a superior man, are tempered, however, by his natural affection for his progeny. Their relations are reciprocal, thus: As a father he rested in kindness.

This mutual fondness is given apt expression in this saying: But its propriety and the extent of its application are better illustrated by this narrative: If their father have stolen a sheep, they will bear witness to the fact.

The father conceals the misconduct of his son and the son conceals the misconduct of the father.

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Uprightness is to be found in this. In the "Analects," Confucius says: He should be earnest and p. He should overflow in love to all and cultivate the friendship of the good. When he has time and opportunity, after the performance of these things, he should employ them in polite studies. The cultivation of these qualities is necessary in order that he may be regarded as filial; for while, as will be seen, much stress is placed upon filial observances, the most important thing is to be a worthy son.

Thus in the "Li Ki" it runs: The opposite picture is unflinchingly and unsparingly presented in these texts of the "Analects," already quoted: He is not one who is seeking to make progress in learning. He wishes quickly to become a man. Yet the mere shortcomings of youth are to be viewed charitably and judgment is to be suspended until time shall tell.

This Confucius puts as follows: How do we know that his future will not be equal p. If he reach the age of forty or fifty, and has not made himself heard of, then indeed he will not be worth being regarded with respect. And one of the three things which he especially enjoins in relations to others is that all deal considerately with the young; he says in the "Analects" that his wishes are: The responsibilities of the father are of course more serious and grave.

They extend even to the avoidance of such comradeship with his son as might be misunderstood and so tend to impair the son's veneration. Thus, as has already been quoted, it is said: He must keep himself a veritable hero in his son's eyes, in order that he may command, and may be worthy to command, his admiration and reverence. This also he must achieve in very truth and not by deception; for in the "Li Ki" it is said: Lest the son should thereby come to regard the.

The teacher must inculcate what is correct. When he inculcates what is correct and his lessons are not practised, he follows them up with being angry. When he follows them up with being angry, then contrary to what should be, he is offended with his son. When father and son come to be offended with each other, the case is evil. Such reproofs lead to alienation, and than alienation there is nothing more inauspicious. And in book v. Therefore, the father has not absolute power over the son.

We must not presume to injure or to wound them. This is the beginning of filial piety. When we have established our character by the practice of this filial course, so as to make our name famous in future ages and thereby glorify our parents, this is the end of filial piety. It is remarkable and significant that it should in these modern days be necessary to say "filial piety.

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Through this the meaning, "service of the Heavenly Father," has been derived. The Romans and the Greeks, however, scarcely at any time knew filial piety of the same type as this institution of the Chinese; for, though they possessed their "Lares and Penates," or household divinities, making sacrifices to departed ancestors was probably never erected into a well-established, long-cherished, everywhere honoured practice. It called for the greatest reverence and devotion while the parent is yet living.

Its most important phase, indeed, was the obligation it imposed to live an honourable and creditable life, that the parents might not have occasion to blush for their offspring.

This feature cannot be overemphasized; for it is the chief sanction for ethical conduct, according to the morals of Confucius, aside from the ambition to become a superior human being as an end in, and of, itself. In the "Li Ki" this view is ascribed directly to Confucius, thus: His parents give birth to his person all complete and to return it to them complete may be called filial duty. This is enjoined again and again in this book of the rules of propriety, as in the following: It is at its greatest when he respects himself.

He is but an outgrowth from his parents; dare he do otherwise than preserve his self-respect? If he cannot respect himself, he injures them. The following more detailed statement from the same book is ascribed to Tsang-Tsze, himself: If a man in his own house and privacy be not grave, he is not filial; if in serving his ruler he be not loyal, he is not filial; if in discharging the duties of office he be not reverent, he is not filial; if with friends he be not sincere, he is not filial; if on the field of battle he be not brave, he is not filial.

If he fail in these five things, the evil will reach his parents; dare he then do otherwise than reverently attend to them? The reverential service, due to parents as an act of filial piety, is not confined to service of the father, though he is the more frequently mentioned; the mother is equally the object of the devotion and love of their offspring.

As they serve their fathers, so they serve their rulers and they reverence them equally. Hence love is what is chiefly rendered to the mother and reverence is what is chiefly rendered to the ruler, while both of these things are given to the father.

The effectiveness of filial piety as a motive of p. Of all man's actions there is none greater than filial piety. Pious Regard for Living Parents.

Thus in the "Li Ki" the nature of filial piety toward living parents is indicated. Much the same is yet more urgently inculcated in another passage from the same book: Not to disgrace himself and not to cause shame to his parents may be called filial duty. The duty to support parents is in the "Li Ki" enjoined in these sweeping terms: This is the filial piety of the common people.

Confucius was not wholly satisfied with this even as a statement of the duty of ordinary people. He deemed reverence, love, and obedience equally p. This colloquy taken from the "Analects" illustrates his position: The Master said, 'If, when their elders have burdensome duties, the young take the toil off them, and if, when the young have wine and food, they set them before their elders, is this to be deemed filial piety?

Again, in replying to the inquiry of another disciple, he refers to this as follows: The Master said, 'The filial piety of nowadays means the support of one's parents. But dogs and horses likewise are able to do something in the way of support; without reverence, what is there to distinguish the one support from the other? And to the query of yet another disciple he responded: In the "Li Ki" the same idea is put thus, involving both instant obedience and sincere respect: Since, then, remonstrance is required in the case of unrighteous conduct, how can mere obedience to a father be accounted filial piety?

And in the "Analects," Confucius lays down the true rule of action in the following: Remonstrance may not, however, be carried to excess and certainly not to such excess as is involved in exposing a father's shortcomings to the eyes of others or crying aloud his shame; for the "Li Ki" represents Confucius to declare, in conformity also with other sayings elsewhere: Mencius, apparently, would yet further limit the right of the son to reprove; indeed, he would all but destroy it for he says: But between father and son reproof is the greatest offence against that tenderness which should subsist.

In the same connexion, Mencius says: The first is laziness about employing legs and arms, resulting in failure to support parents. The second, gambling and chess-playing and fondness for wine, with the same result. The third, prizing goods and money and selfish devotion to wife and children, with the same result.

The fourth, giving way to the temptations that assail one's eyes and ears, thus bringing his parents to shame.