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The Analects of Confucius, a collection of sayings and ideas of Confucianism, was compiledby the followers of Confucius mostly in the form of dialogues. The last chapter, “[Emperor] Yao Said,” is the briefest chapter in the book. One school of thought holds that it is just a collection of leftovers. I come from the school of thought that the last chapter concludes Confucius’s theme of politics as well as philosophy with an inseparable connection with the other chapters in the analects. Politics was Confucius’s prime concern.

Listed with examples of emperors, 20. 1 talked about how to be a successful philosophical king. People, food, mourning, and sacrifice were all the elements important to the rule of a country. Generosity, good faith, industriousness, and justice were the dispositions of a king, which Confucius praised highly. All those similar ideas ran through the entire book. 1. 5 and 12. 9 emphasized how important it was to love people in order to govern a state. 3. 12 and 3. 17 talked about how necessary it was to hold a sacrificial ceremony carefully. In 17. , the five practices that would implement humanity, which was the core of Confucianism, were courtesy, tolerance, good faith, diligence, and generosity. These political ideas have a tight relationship with each other within the 20 chapters around the theme of politics: benevolent politics. Under the rule of the king, competent officials were necessary to govern the state together. Mentioned in 20. 2, cultivating the five treasures while eschewing the four evils was the key to become a capable official. In my opinion, the five treasures were actually the details, the steps of governing a state.

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Firstly, all constructions should be under a plan, which was beneficial to people. Then, people would work hard for the goals that they were willing to achieve. Once the state became a prosperous state, no one would be rapacious. If the officials were amiable, then all the citizens would lived in a state full of happiness. The other part in 20. 2 talked about the behaviors that officials had to avoid. Terror, tyranny, extortion and bureaucracy were the spots that were mentioned in other chapters that people should not obtain.

Those behaviors were exactly the opposite to the theme of humanity, the core of Confucius. For the ideal state of Confucius, it was not enough with only a philosophical king and competent officials. Most importantly, gentlemen should be the citizens of the state. A gentleman should understand the fate, the rites and the words. The fate here means the willing of heaven, which was the nature law. In 2. 4 and 16. 8, the master mentioned that a man could not be a gentleman if he feared of the willing of heaven. In 8. 2, 8. 8 and 16. 3, the master talked about the important rites was for a man. ‘If you do not study the ritual, you will not be able to take your stand in society. ’[1] 1. 3 and 5. 10 stated that clever talks were necessary for humanity. Those main concepts ran through the entire book. Cleverly, through 20. 3, the focus converted from the theme of the politics to the core of Confucianism, humanism. 12. 1 mentioned that self-cultivation and the restore of rites were the practice of humanity. Those were exactly the ones chapter 20 emphasized.

Summarized from the entire book, the theme of Confucius’s politics was to achieve the harmony of the universe and of society. For Confucius’s ideal state, there were a philosophical king, benevolent official and citizens. In the society, all the people should be gentlemen, who have moral achievement and intellectual competence through self-cultivation and self-creation[2] instead of the aristocrats who were immoral and uneducated. [3] The way of how to become a gentleman implied the significance of education.

Humanity, politics and education tied with each other in the book and were concluded in the last chapter. Therefore, from my point of view, instead of being a collection of leftovers, the last chapter acted as a conclusion of emphasizing both personal and government morality, social relationships, justice and sincerity for the entire book.

[1] Cited from 16. 13. [2] Idea from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Confucianism [3] Idea from the introduction of the Analects of Confucius ( ??? ii ) by SIMON LEYS

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