Confucian Practice

Confucian Practice

"Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men."
- Confucius




Sense of Oneness



What is it?

“In a word, Confucianism teaches human beings to manifest the transcendent 'One' principle of the Heavenly creation in a specifically humane (仁) way. Understanding the union but also the distinction between Heaven and Human Beings is key to parsing out the varying meanings of 'Heaven' in the context of Confucianism.” (Bin Song)

Background on practices.

The meditative tradition of Confucianism in its primitive period is mainly defined by Mencius's practice of "Oceanic Matter-Energy" (浩然之气) and "Night Matter-Energy" (夜气). In the Neo-Confucianism of the Song (960-1279 C.E) and Ming (1368-1644 C.E) dynasties--under the influence of Buddhism and Daoism--Confucians practiced and conceptualized meditation in a variety of ways. In the modern period, the Japanese Confucian Okada Takehiko is a distinct exemplar of Confucian meditation. Through Rodney L. Taylor's wonderful research of Takehiko's meditative practice, The Confucian Way of Contemplation: Okada Takehiko and the Tradition of Quiet-Sitting, English readers can catch a glimpse of how meditation was treated in Song-Ming Neo-Confucianism. (Bin Song)

Challenges and commitments of practice.

The greatest challenge to employing the category of "mysticism" to re-interpret Confucianism for the modern world is to rethink the role of the individual in Confucian ethics. It is an insipid stereotype circulated among cultural observers that the conception of the individual in the West is distinctively atomistic, whereas in the East the self is always relational. It is true that human communities (such as family, village compact, government, etc.) are treated by Confucianism as the only realm where a virtuous person can fulfill his or her spiritual commitment to ultimate reality. Confucianism has always taught, however, that while immersing one's life in a widening network of human relationships, human beings ought to simultaneously establish a correct relationship with "Heaven," and in this way, discover their genuine self. (Bin Song)