The two texts, Dhammapada and Analects describe the character of Buddha and Confucian respectively. The texts were written in the ancient period that explains the fact that the authors highlighted the saying of Buddha and Confucian teachings. The authors of the texts share some feeling and differ in others. Dhammapada comprises sayings of Buddha and the Buddhist scripture. Bugghaghosa explains that the written verses were recorded under different occasions, in the situations that had risen to the monastic community and in the life of Buddha. The Dhammapada Atthakatha presents the events and legend of the life of Buddha. On the other hand, Analects of Confucius introduces the beliefs of the followers of Confucius. It was written during the period of Warning States (206 BC- 220 AD).
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The text of Analects is believed to have been written after the death of Confucius (d. 473 BC) by the first and second generation of Confucius pupils. Based on the argument that originates from the traditional account, the work can have been completed during the period of Warring State (476 BC- 221 AD). The text was widely transmitted through China. Confusion teachings were quoted in the text as existed in the Warring States period. In most of the periods of Han, this text was not considered as one of the principal texts of Confucianism. At the time of Han Wudi (141-87 BC), there were only Five Classics considered by the Chinese government as canonical. Analects were considered to be second in this list because the text was regarded as the only collection of Confucius oral ideas. Throughout the Han Dynasty, the popularity and political impotence of the text grew.
The content of Analects has few reliable sources. In the text, Confucius described himself as a transmitter of traditional political and social issues in the early Zhou Dynasty (c. 1000-800). He claimed that he did not create anything but the social and political ideals of Confucius, which were not popular in the time (Analects 7.1).
The discussion of Confucius about supernatural and nature shows that he respected heaven (Analects, 3.12; 6.20; 11.11). Though he believed in the existence of the heaven and God, he did not believe in spirits. According to him, the sprits could not understand easily and people should base their social life and values on philosophy, natural love and tradition. The philosophy of Confucius is aimed at cultivating ren by each member of the community. Confucian philosophers argued that ren is a word that means humane or having a kind manner. In the Analects, out of the sixty instances discussed by Confucius only few are humane. He describes a state of virtue which a living person attained completely.
Throughout the Analects, the students ask Confucius to define ren and to provide the examples of the people embodying it, but he responded indirectly to the questions. He provided the illustrations and examples of behaviors, associated with ren and the ways of achieving it. He highlights the qualities of a person with a sense of ren. He claims that a person should be speaking modestly and carefully (Analects 12.3). Further he states that the person should be courageous, firm and resolute, free from worry, diligent, trustworthy, kind and tolerant (Analects 12.20; 14.4; 9.28; 12.2; 17.6; 12.22; 7.23). He finally recognized the disappointment to his followers by not giving a definition of ren, but telling them that he tried all that he could (Analects 7.23).
To him, cultivation and practice of ren included the ideas and thoughts of the individuals and the avoidance of artful talks. It presupposes avoidance of the things that could give a false impression of the personal qualities (Analects 1.3). He said that people who had fully cultivated ren were recognized by their characters. Moreover, they were said to be slow in speech and to have simple manner. People could cultivate ren through the practice of Golden rule. He further explained that a person with ren does not leave others to suffer while he progress in life. A person with ren tries to lift others while he goes to the next level of his life (Analects 12.2; 6.28). In such a way, imagining one selves in the place of other people is cultivating moral values. According to Confucius, the best way to cultivate ren is to be devoted to parents and older siblings (Analects 1.2).
The author explains that ren will be cultivated by people with a developed level of self discipline which is learned by practicing and cultivating understanding of li. Li was described as the set of rituals by which an individual demonstrates the respect for others and their duties in the society (Analects 3.3). Individual’s li should help people to reason before saying or doing things (Analects 12.1). He stated that subjection to li did not mean one’s deprivation of the desires, but reconciling with the needs of the family and community. Ren and li have a cross relationship. Li helps people to have a good relationship with family and community, while people broadly practice ren and it helps in interaction with all people. Confucius believed that individual cultivation of ethics could mean loyalty to evil ruler. Ren and li demand meant that subjects could be oppressed by the rulers at their own peril.
Confucius political aspect come across when he highlighted his belief that good rulers should lead by example, should be disciplined and should correct his subjects with love, avoiding punishment. He claimed that in case people are led by law and are punished after violation of it, they will avoid punishment and have no shame in violating the set laws. When people are led by virtue and corrected through a practice of ritual, they can develop shame and avoid violation of virtues (Analects 2.3; 13.6). Confucius answered the ruler of Qi that good governance included ruler being a ruler, father being a father, son being a son and a mister being a minister. He described a good leader as the one who possesses virtue “de”.
In education, he describes a good student as the one who respectes and learnes from the words and practices of the teacher. He describes a good teacher as a person who is older and familiar with past ways (Analects 7.22). According to his philosophy education is to cultivate people with ethical standards and with integrity (Analects 12.11; 13.8)
The title of Dhammapada is composed of two words with different meanings. ‘Dhamma’ means Buddha’s doctrine, truth, righteousness or phenomena, while ‘pad’ means foot. Traditional records state that Dhammapada’s verses derived from Buddha’s speech on various occasions. The text composes 26 chapters with 423 verses. Buddha believed that people behaved in the way they had thought it was correct. He explained that people acted according to their thoughts. If a person behave in an evil way,he does this as a result of his own thought but suffers at last (I. 1). He stated that when a man acts and speaks with a pure thought, he gets happiness and a shadow that never leaves (I.2). He explains that revenge can not end if one experiences hatred but should be accompanied by love one changes. This thought explains that people should only treat others with love even after hearting or causing harm. Through paying hatred with love, a person can change (I. 1).
In respect to the relationship with other people, people are said to seek happiness. People practicing happiness do not punish or kill others. Due to the belief in heaven he states that those who show mercy and happiness to others will also find happiness after death. He believes that there is life after death. People should not speak to others harshly. He states that people who speak to others harshly will also receive the same treatment and to avoid this people should treat others softly (X. 133).
He explains that a person should watch himself from aside and control his activities. A person should direct others to the proper and good way. One should uphold the values which he teaches others. People should not teach water and drink wine (XII. 159). They should not forget their duties for the sake of others, but they should be attentive to their duties without minding what other people are saying (XII. 166). He explains that those who have a happy life in the world will also have a happy life in the other world (XIII. 167). He warns people against being unreal. People should accept their status and avoid desiring what belongs to others. People should not have thirst of things which do not belong to them, but they utilize what they have to suit their needs (XXIV. 350).
In Buddha people are advised to love and live peacefully with one another while Confucius describes ren as the one that has the hormone and good manner. Both texts teach about the proper relationship between people in the community. They also help humans to live a happy and free of conflict life. Both texts do not encourage punishment. One of the differences is that Buddha has a belief in spirits, while Confucius does not.
Both texts contain the tips of proper behavior and promote peace in the society. They teach people how to relate with each other and have a society without conflicts. The texts are more concerned with social life other than physical.
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