Friday, May 29, 2015

392. Philadelphia's First Confucius Institute

As a part of Temple University’s ongoing commitment to international education, the university is collaborating with China’s Zhejiang Normal University (ZJNU) to launch the Confucius Institute at Temple University. The center for the teaching of Chinese language and culture is the first of its kind in greater Philadelphia.

I have made it clear that probably it was that Benjamin Franklin created the first Confucius institute. Franklin named his group (institute )Junto. It was founded  in 1727 immediately after his returning from England. It is believe that Junto comes from a mistaken use of the Spanish noun “junta,” which means “a meeting.” This word derives from the Latin “iunct,” which means “to join.” 

Interestingly enough, Junto (君道) in Chinese is interpreted as the “Way of a Gentleman” or the “Path Leading to a Virtuous Person.” The Chinese meaning seems to best reflect Franklin's purpose of establishing the group. It shouldn't regarded as coincidence. It is well-know that one of the main goals of Junto was to cultivate more virtuous members for society. For more information on Junto, one can read Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, now available online. However, there is much  work to be done to prove that Junto, the name of the group was borrowed from Chinese. I hope we will better understand Junto with more study of Benjamin Franklin's efforts to cultivate his virtue by scholars worldwide.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

391.Confucius, the Founders and Private Morality

In his Op-Ed article, Goodness and Power, April 28, 2015, David Brooks, the columnist of the New York Times, had a good point on private morality. He said that private morality "is about building trust and enduring personal relationships. That means being fair, empathetic, honest and trustworthy." He continued "People with good private morality are better at navigating for the long term. They genuinely love causes beyond themselves."

Through reading Dr. Dave Wang's article, Confucius in American Founding, a reader should be able to find out that Mr. David Brooks' opinion on private virtue is consistent with the founders'. According to Dr. Dave Wang, the founders understood that respectable and benevolent men were more likely to support the universal pursuit of happiness. An affectionate man would not only be more likely to live in harmony with his neighbors, but also able to understand the mutual sacrifices required for the success of the new nation. The founders drew from Confucius’ moral teachings for the private virtue that the new nation required.  The main tenets of Confucian moral philosophy provided what the founders needed to build the new private virtue for its citizens and future leaders. These founders dreamt of creating the truly virtuous people brought up by the Confucian standards of a gentleman. As a result, Confucian moral philosophy became so important to the founders and the cause they fought for.