Analects Book 10 on ritual behavior: Confucius in his home village

Book 10 of the Analects provides another striking example of the ability of Confucius to adapt his behavior and demeanor to the ritual needs of a specific situation with its evocative illustration of how he acts when in his home village.

Instead of attempting to draw attention to himself, Confucius is “unassuming and warm” so that blends in with the environment. He is deferential to his elders and respectful of local beliefs and traditions. Even though he has become a famous sage, he has not forgotten where he came from. He is proud of his roots and treasures the time he spends among the people he grew up with.

Here are three passages from Book 10 describing Confucius in his home village.

10.1
When Confucius was in his home village, he was unassuming and warm as if at a loss for words.

10.13
When the villagers were drinking together, he didn’t leave until the elders had departed.

10.14
When the villagers carried out the ceremony to exorcize pestilent spirits and ghosts, he put on his court dress and stood on the eastern steps.

Analects Book 10: Links
Book 10, Chapter 1
Book 10, Chapter 13
Book 10, Chapter 14

Note
Confucius is traditionally believed to have been born on Nishan, a humble hill about 30km southeast from Qufu, the capital of Lu. Nishan is home to a Confucius Temple and the cave in which the sage was delivered by his mother Yan Zhengzai.

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Richard Brown

I live in Taiwan and am interested in exploring what ancient Chinese philosophy can tell us about technology and the rise of modern China.