The five critical constructs have to be considered independently to form the basis for introducing the Confucian moral theory and practice in East Asia. First off is the concept of merging social-political reform to self-cultivation. According to Confucius’ belief, the establishment of political order on social order was essential and personal cultivation coined this social order, albeit among the members of the society: “From the Son of Heaven down to the mass of the people, the cultivation of the self is the foundation of everything besides” (Lai 24). Confucius contends that the self-cultivation of individuals will translate into the rectification of the hearts and, therefore, the spillover effects would see the other people get cultivated as well. A cultivated society would lead to families that are regulated, and thus, the whole State would be justifiably governed. Rightly, governed States would give rise to a kingdom that calm and glad (24). Intrinsically, the connection between personal cultivation and the social-political reform is overly strong and this sets the ground for Confucian morality.The second concept of Confucian morality is the pursuit of dao. Dao refers to a method, doctrine, path of truth or in accordance with the moral teachings. Sometimes, this term is interpreted as “an all-encompassing state of affairs embracing the ‘outer’ socio-political order and the ‘inner’ moral life of the individual” (Yao 229). The sovereign metaphysical drive controls the functioning of all things in the world in accordance to the universal moral order. As such, Confucius advocates that the responsibility of humans be to seek the understanding and pursuit of life in conformity to Dao. Confucius conceives Dao as the act following human nature, which is imparted on the human by the Heavens and goes on to enunciate that “If a man in the morning hears the Dao; he may die in the evening without regret!” (Yao 231). In essence, Confucius intended to express how Dao was critical to the life of an individual.
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Yao, Xinzhong. An Introduction to Confucianism. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2005.
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