Confucius Analects – Fulfill your roles

Confucius Analects – Fulfill your roles – 孔子论语 – 做好本份

12.5 How to govern 2


孔子對曰、君君、臣臣、 父父、子子。

The Duke Jing [Ching], of Qi {Chi], asked Confucius about government.

Confucius replied, ‘There is government, when the prince is prince, and the minister is minister; when the father is father, and the son is son.’

8.5 Mind your own business


The Master said, ‘He who is not in any particular office, has nothing to do with plans for the administration of its duties.’

10.1 Confucius in village vs. in court



Confucius, in his village, looked simple and sincere, and as if he were not able to speak. respectful uneasiness; it was grave, but self-possessed.

When he was in the prince’s ancestorial temple, or in the court, he spoke minutely on every point, but cautiously.

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When everyone is fulfilling their roles in the world, there is family and social order.  Otherwise, there is confusion and chaos.  For example, in the top-down direction: king taking over the roles of the ministers, managers taking over roles of front-line staffs; in the bottom-up direction: soldiers giving commands to generals, employees making decisions for top management.  Therefore, for the purpose of family and social harmony, Confucius advocated people to mind their own business: fulfilling one’s own role, and leave the rest to others.  This is the message for the first two sections.

Operational speaking, we have multiple roles in our life.  E.g. employee at work, son/daughter to parents, father/mother to kids, friends, teachers/students etc.  We need to be flexible and switch when in different roles, like Confucius himself would behave differently at home and at work.  This is how we can apply the fluidity of our “self” to fulfill our roles in the world.

You may ask, if the self is so fluid and takes different form.  What then is our real identity?  The answer is provided in the domain of Taoist and Buddhist teachings.

For spiritual students,  minding our own businesses is also an important attitude to cultivate.  As the process increasingly draws our attention from the seemingly outer perception to inner reality, we need to stay focused on the internal process of how the world manifests from “within”.  We learn to let go of the temptation to interfere with process the mind said to be “out there”, and take responsibility and own the phenomenon as they arise from within.  Such is the role for spiritual student.

12.5 君君、臣臣、 父父、子子


孔子對曰、君君、臣臣、 父父、子子。

8.5 不在其位、不謀其政


10.1 孔子於鄉黨, 朝廷



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2 responses to “Confucius Analects – Fulfill your roles – 孔子论语 – 做好本份”

  1. Muy bueno, bien que no estoy de concierto con todo.

    Gracias por la aviso, bss

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