Sunday, April 24, 2016

444. Confucius, Thomas Paine and the Three Wise Monkeys

Several weeks ago, Mr. Jeffrey Bingham Mead, the President of History Education Council of Hawaii State, mentioned to me that he found a statue of three wise monkeys at a store in Manhattan. I was interested in it. I know that Dr. Dave Wang has mentioned the three moral principles of Confucius symbolized by the statue in his paper, Confucius in American Founding. According to Dr. Wang, Thomas Paine, the author of Common Sense, quoted the three moral principles in his argument with the federalists. Today, Jeffrey sent me the photo he took yesterday when he had a business lunch with some friends. Thank you Jeffrey, for the great picture. Please enjoy the photo.

In the meantime, I feel I should also show you the translation of the Confucius moral principles below:

 非禮 勿 視, 非禮 勿 聽, 非禮 勿 言, 非禮 勿 動.」

論 語

Confucian Analects


Book XII: Yen Yûan

Chapter 1

How to attain to perfect virtue:-- a conversation with Yen Yüan.
1. Yen Yüan asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, "To subdue one's self and return to propriety, is perfect virtue. If a man can for one day subdue himself and return to propriety, all under heaven will ascribe perfect virtue to him. Is the practice of perfect virtue from a man himself, or is it from others?"
2. Yen Yüan said, "I beg to ask the steps of that process." The Master replied, "Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety." Yen Yüan then said, "Though I am deficient in intelligence and vigor, I will make it my business to practice this lesson."

No comments: