Filial Piety Essay

648 Words3 Pages
Introduction Many religions and beliefs teach people to behave well and love one another. However, the methods used and the way they express may differ in many ways. For example, the Confucian belief emphasizes filial piety, and the first duty that Confucians advocate, as said in The Classic of Filial Piety (孝經), is for filial sons and daughters to take good care of our body and prevent their body, skin and hair from injuries as they are given by our parents. On the contrast, Buddhist monks shave their heads as a signification of commitment and being free from troubles and worries. Can it be said that Buddhists are unfilial? In fact, both Confucianism and Buddhism value filial piety. Yet they deliver filial piety through different concepts. This essay compares the reasons for the establishment of concepts of filial piety, the way of mourning deaths, the serving targets, the aims that are strived to achieve and how filial piety is valued in Confucianism and Buddhism. Reasons for the Establishment of Concepts of Filial Piety Confucianism advocates society while Buddhism advocates individuality. To achieve a harmonized society, Confucianism emphasizes strongly on social rules that different people in society should obey. In Confucianism, every individual has his or her own role in the family and the country, where individuals are interrelated. From the five traditional cardinal relations (五倫) in Mencius (孟子), saying that “Between father and son, there is affection; between ruler and minister, there is righteousness; between husband and wife, there is differentiation; between siblings, there is precedence; between friends, there is trust.”(T’ang Wang Kung Part I), it can be seen the precept that everyone gets along in a certain ‘corre... ... middle of paper ... ... toward people other than one’s family members. In Mencius, it is mentioned, “Honor old people as we do to our own aged parents, and care for other's children as we do to our own children.” (King Hui of Liang Part I) However, the importance of caring for one’s own parents and children superior to other elderlies and children is implied in the original Chinese version of the speech. Thus, it can be concluded that Confucian filial piety is more confined in serving one’s own family while the Buddhist ‘great filial piety’ is to serve a more universal target, that is, every living creature on Earth. The Ways of Offering to Ancestors and Mourning the Deaths Differences in concepts of filial piety in Confucianism and Buddhism can also be seen from their ways of treating the bodies of their deceased ancestors, the period of grief, and their way of offering to ancestors.
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