Never a day passes, it seems, without some new level of partisanship as front-page news. Its effects, as we all know, are nothing short of derailing the very capacity of the government to carry out its most fundamental responsibilities.
The Master said, "The filial piety of nowadays means the support of one's parents. But dogs and horses are able to do something in the way of support; without reverence, what is there is distinguish the one support given from the other?"
The greatest threats to China and America come not from each other, but from flaws in their own systems of governance. Chinese and Americans alike are burdened by political systems that are not keeping pace with the times.
The goal is the fulfillment of a life of learning such that one comes to accord with the Way of Heaven, not in some eschatological point beyond life, but within one's life itself. And what of the afterlife? Simply of no concern and thus no articulation.
Even a tradition such as Confucianism, as focused upon societal and familial obligations, duties and responsibilities as it was, still saw the value of Nature as a deep and profound source for the learning and transformation of the individual.
The scholarly world has begun to take the discussion of religion and nature seriously. A 10-volume series from Harvard has provided extensive scholarship on the meaning of nature within major religious traditions. One of those 10 volumes is on Confucianism
The point of a resolution is the establishment of a goal and the commitment to that goal. We want to be a better person whatever our religious or non-religious persuasion and we make a resolution to pursue ways to fulfill that goal.
And so, in turning toward Confucius we will look for what he believed to be that highest ideal of which he felt each and every person was capable. Such an ideal was captured for Confucius in the term chün tzu, Noble Person.
Confucius witnessed increasingly hegemonic factions garner power with no attempt to emulate the ways of virtue spelled out by the ancients. There was nothing but the quest for power and authority with no accountability. Sound familiar?
In the leisure of our own thought, we ask the question of the nature of Confucius' leisure ... We tend not to think of a founder of a religious tradition or their zealot followers as having many moments of leisure! But is that an accurate impression?