Husband and wife relationship in confucianism how is the ideal person

The five relationships of Confucianism are father and son | Daniella Montoya -

husband and wife relationship in confucianism how is the ideal person

CONFUCIAN BELIEFS ABOUT SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS older brother, 4) wife to husband (woman to man), and 5) younger person to older person. . In the ideal Confucian scheme of social stratification, scholars were at the highest level. When someone asks Confucius whether people should repay hatred husband and wife in Mencius' "the five moral relationships" is quite different from that . regarding Zhouli, but Zhouli is about the ideal state as seen by Confucian scholars. Just as in a good marriage both spouses are lifted up by their Confucian friendship Greek friendship Spousal relationship Feminism History of friendship . but I have this god-given ability to tell pretty quickly when someone.

They had no right to their physical bodies. Those who defied such institutionalized oppression were persecuted, ostracized, and sometimes driven to suicide. In a patriarchal and authoritarian society, this reproductive function took the form of reproducing male descendents.

Since descent was patrilineal, a woman's position within her natal family was temporary and of no great importance. The predominant patrilineal household model, in combination with early marriage, meant that a young girl often left home before she was of significant labor value to her natal family.

Hence, education or development of publicly useful skills for a girl was not encouraged in any way. Marriage was arranged by the parents with the family interests of continuity by bearing male children and running an efficient household in mind.

Her position and security within her husband's family remained ambiguous until she produced male heirs. Lau ] In addition to the wife's reproductive duties, the strict sexual division of labor demanded that she undertake total responsibility for child care, cooking, cleaning, and other domestic tasks.

Women were like slaves or merchandize. Robert Eno, Indiana University indiana. A Life in thought and Politics New York: Chinese Government White Paper on Religion china-embassy. If one is close to them, they lose their reserve, while if one is distant, they feel resentful.

The preference for boy babies over girls in Asian society is tied up in part in the Confucian belief that a male heir is necessary to carry on the family name, provide leadership for the family, and take care of the family ancestors.

Chinese parents worry that if they don't produce a male heir no one will take care of them in their old age and no one will keep them company or look after them in the afterlife.

Confucius famously said that a good woman is an illiterate one. Women often suffered under the Confucian system. Not only are they ordered around by men, they are often ordered around by each other in very vicious or mean ways. Older sisters have traditionally pushed their younger sisters around with impunity, and mothers of sons are notorious for treating their daughters-in-law like servants. Confucianism does not consider sexual activity as wrong, but love and tenderness are treated with mistrust, and physical displays of them are considered at least questionable.

This rule applies not only to showing affection in public, but also to its display in the privacy of the home. As early as in the seventeenth century, male and female poets protested against it. Encyclopedia of Sexuality, 2. Confucianism dominated Chinese sociopolitical life for most of Chinese history. In The Works of Mencius, one of the major Confucianism classics book 6, part 1we find: Chu Hsi laid the foundations of Neo-Confucianism as the sole state religion.


It encouraged a puritanical and strictly authoritarian form of government, including the establishment of censorship and thought control. However, the government had difficulty enforcing these views on the lower class or sciao-ren the non-exemplary class of people.

Thus it was left for Confucian scholars to apply the principles enunciated by Confucius and Mencius to the task of prescribing expectations and behavioral norms for women in a Confucian family and a Confucian society. To these scholars also fell the task of justifying the education of women and the task of laying forth the parameters and techniques for the education of girls and women.

Song Ruohua and her sister, Song Ruozhao. Both were daughters of a high-ranking Tang official, Song Fen. Ruohua wrote the text below, while her sister, Ruozhao, propagated it. In Chinese communities the factors generating prestige were education, abstention from manual labor, wealth expended on the arts and education, a large family with many sons, and community service and acts of charity.

Introduction to Confucianism and Five Relationships

Another asset was an extensive personal network that permitted one to grant favors and make introductions and recommendations. There was no sharp line dividing the elite from the masses, and social mobility was possible and common.

They set rules, and the "duty and virtue" of everyone else is to follow them. The oldest male and father, in turn, are supposed to reciprocate this reverence by supporting and looking out for the best interest of the people subordinate to them. Love and respect are principals that are practiced in the context of the family.

Confucians do not ascribe to the idea of loving all people equally. Confucius promoted the concept that it was important to worship one's parents while they are still living and old people should be venerated because even though they are weak physically they at the peak of their knowledge and wisdom. This sentiment is best expressed during the "elders first" rite, the central ritual of the Chinese New Year, in which family members kneel and bow on the ground to everyone older than them: In the old days a son was expected to honor his deceased father by occupying a hut by his grave and abstaining from meat, wine and sex for 25 months.

Filial piety is regarded as the most important Confucian duty. Confucian filial piety encourages the younger generation to follow the teachings of elders and for elders to teach the young their duties and manners.

Both children and adults are taught to honor their parents no matter what age they are and obey their commands and not do anything that would bring suffering or pain to them. Sons have traditionally been taught to give whatever money they make to their parents. To do otherwise would incur a loss of face. This unquestioning acquiescence was expected to be maintained regardless of how their parents respond. In The Analects, after being told about a man who bore witness against his father for stealing sheep, Confucius said: The father covers up for his son, the son covers up for his father Robert Eno of Indiana University wrote: The junzi applies himself to the roots of things, for once the roots are firm, the Way can grow.

Filiality and obedience to elders are the roots of ren, are they not? The junzi is to be a moral exemplar, leading all people towards a more virtuous society, yet he is also a follower, obeying his parents absolutely, as well as playing the junior role to all who are older than he.

husband and wife relationship in confucianism how is the ideal person

The absolute imperative of filial obedience was the fundamental means of broadening the self. Children are born with only self-regarding desires, born selfish. To acquire the fundamental skills that will allow one to view and treat others with as much regard as one does oneself, a long period of discipline must train the person to see the interests of others as his own.

This is the function of filiality in Confucian thought. Rather, li were thought of in terms of the responsibilities and forms that accompanied different social roles: As a person moved through life, he or she would broaden control over li by mastering sets of responsibilities and forms that marked the assumption of emerging social roles.

The individual was, in a sense, pictured almost exclusively in terms of the social roles that he or she had mastered and the characteristic style with which he or she had mastered or failed to master the basic structures of those roles. Instead, individuals were simply described and evaluated most regularly in terms of their roles and the state was described and evaluated in terms of the fit between role norms and actual social behavior.

For example, as the following passage makes clear, in the ideal state individuals privilege the role of the filial child over the role of the loyal subject: When his father stole a sheep, this man gave evidence against him.

For example, rulers who did not act in accord with the normative value. Filial duties were absolute. Confucians held that the myriad actual roles through which we live our social lives could ultimately be seen as variants on five paradigmatic polar relations, which may be listed as follows the traditional version is on the left, a more universalized modern version on the right: The first three of these were viewed as intrinsically hierarchical and they are the relationships that attracted the most interest in the Confucian scheme.

The last two were seen as egalitarian in theory although the marriage relationship was clearly not so in practice. The Five Relationships can be understood as a way to bring coherence to the ideal of a completely ritualized society, and to give individuals an important conceptual tool in allowing them to pursue self-ritualization in the context of everyday social life.

If one is close to them, they lose their reserve, while if one is distant, they feel resentful. Among those who are disinclined to offend against their superiors, there have never been any who are yet inclined to create disorder.

The noble person concerns himself with the root; when the root is established, the Way is born. Being filial and fraternal — is this not the root of humaneness?

husband and wife relationship in confucianism how is the ideal person

But dogs and horses too can provide nourishment. Theodore de Bary and Irene Bloom, 2nd ed. After his father is no more, observe his actions. Even dogs and horses receive as much. Without attentive respect, where is the difference?

That the youngest shall bear the burden at work or that the elders shall be served first of food and drink, is this all that filiality means? In death, inter them according to li and sacrifice to them according to li.

Introduction to Confucianism and Five Relationships

During the Song dynasty, the text became one of the thirteen classics of the Neo-Confucian canon and remained a cornerstone of traditional Chinese moral teaching until modern times.

Patricia Buckley Ebrey, University of Washington, depts. The text is cast in the form of a conversation between Confucius and Zengzi, one of his students. Take your seat and I shall explain.