Instructions: Below you will find TWO reading selections from two important texts in Chinese religion and philosophy: the Confucian Analects (the recorded conversations between Confucius and his students) and the Zhuangzi (an important text in Daoism).
Choose ONE of the readings selections below and then write a forum post of at least 100 words.
Then, respond to a classmates’s forum post with a response of at least 100 words.
Make sure to identify which reading selection you are analyzing in your forum post, 1 or 2. For example, if you decide to analyze reading selection 2, then write “Response to reading selection 2” at the beginning of your response post in this forum.
Complete the post and response by Friday, February 1st.
Reading selection # 1:
Analyze the Confucian sayings on the idea of virtuous leadership and political rule (from the Analects)
2.1 – The Master said: When one rules by means of virtue it is like the North Star – it dwells in its place and the other stars pay reverence to it.
2.3 – The Master said: Guide them with policies and align them with punishments and the people will evade them and have no shame. Guide them with virtue and align them with li and the people will have a sense of shame and fulfill their roles.
Question to answer in your discussion post: How do you think the political philosophy expressed in this Confucian saying differs (in a broad, general sense) from American political philosophy? Do you think we could benefit from any of the Confucian concepts of virtuous leadership in the US now? If so, what aspects?
Reading selection # 2:
Analyze “Monkey Mountain” (a story/riddle from the Daoist text Zhuangzi)
The Prince of Wu took a boat to Monkey Mountain. As soon as the monkeys saw him they all fled in panic and hid in the treetops.
One monkey, however, remained, completely unconcerned, swinging from branch to branch – an extraordinary display.
The prince shot an arrow at the monkey, but the monkey dexterously caught the arrow in midflight.
At this the prince ordered his attendants to make a concerted attack. In an instant the monkey was shot full of arrows and fell dead.
Then the prince turned to his companion Yen Pu’i, “You see what happened? This animal advertised his cleverness. He trusted his own skill. He thought no one could touch him. Remember that! Do not rely on distinction and talent when you deal with men!”
When they returned home, Yen Pu’i became a disciple of a sage to get rid of everything that made him outstanding. He renounced every pleasure. He learned to hide every distinction.
Soon no one in the kingdom knew what to make of him. Thus they held him in awe.
Question to answer in your discussion post: What type of person or character does the monkey represent and why do you think he dies? What error does he make? What Daoist virtues does this story promote as the worthiest of virtues? (See in particular Young’s discussion on “The Worldview of Daoist Philosophy” beginning on p. 126) How do these Daoist virtues compare and contrast with the highest virtues in our own society?
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