08 May 2014

How Great are You? Let Confucius Tell you.

Confucius shows us 3 levels of greatness. It begins with sharing of one's wealth and things. Next is the right use of one's authority - not for self-glorification and not to bully others. The highest is the love and care for people of all ages. So, how far have you attained ?

The Analect《論語•公冶長篇》has the following passage:
顏淵、季路侍。子曰:“盍各言爾志?”
子路曰:“愿車馬衣輕裘與朋友共,敝之而無憾。”
顏淵曰:“愿無伐善,無施勞。” 子路曰:“愿聞子之志。”
子曰:“老者安之,朋友信之,少者懷之。”

Yan Yuan and Ji Lu are with Confucius.
Confucius asked,"Let's hear your ambition."
Ji Lu said,"I wish to have chariots, horses, light fur clothes and share them with friends. Even if they are worn out, I will have no regrets".
Yan Yuan said,"I wish that I boast not of my goodness and labor not others".
Zi Lu asked,"May we hear our teacher's ambition?"
Confucius said,"May the old people have peace without worry of their living. May there be integrity and trust among friends. May the young be care for and loved."

The 3 Levels of Greatness

1. Sharing of Material Wealth/Goods.
2. Right Use of Power. No self-glorifying and abuse of others.
3. Love for the People of All ages. Care for the aged, trust for friends and upbringing of the young.

The above three levels are all about others - sharing of things, right use of authority, and care for people of all ages. So, we can introduce a level 0 which stands of self-centeredness and no concern about others. Most people will agree that starting from level 0 is very natural. When we are young and least capable, we must be very concern about our own survival. As we grow older with greater ability and security, we may then begin think of others and giving to them. The sad part is that quite a number of people never grow out of their insecurity to care for others. When they care for others, their inner motivation is still about what they can get from serving them.

Parents have an important role to play in giving and providing a secure environment for their children. Children growing up in a secured and loved environment can by pass level 0 or grow up from level 0 quickly into level 1 and higher as they see and are the beneficiaries of the love of their parents. This security of love also applies to marriage relationship for a lasting and joyful marriage.

Which level of sharing are you? ... 1 Things, 2 Power and 3 Love ?

Lim Liat (c) 8 May 2014

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