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Confucius Philosophy Of Heritage , Xue-cai Yu,2011.1.1  

2011-01-01 12:11:20|  分类: 学术论文 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Abstract:

China is a country with a great number of heritage resources because of its five thousand years of history of civilization. China is also a large country with emphasis on conservation of cultural heritage owing to Confucius influence to the Chinese people for generations. This article reveals the sage Confucius philosophy of heritage, mainly includes the following six aspects:

1) Confucius thinks that the legacy carriers will be changed, but the core information will never change. The focus of conservation is the core information;

2) Confucius thinks that the original documents are as much importance as the people who know all of the documents. That’s to say, both the various files of heritage and the people with certain special significance or special skills should be protected or conserved. This idea is quite close to ours today. Say, we have to protect or conserve not only tangible heritage but also intangible heritage;

3) Confucius pays more attention to the principle of authenticity of heritage conservation, this is just our views of emphasis on authenticity of the heritage conservation;

4) Confucius emphasizes on seeking the lost cultural heritage from the related subsidiary or marginal areas.

5)Confucius thinks that the historical heritage should be preserved or conserved in both sides, whether it was created by the losers or it was created by the winners.

6)Confucius advocated the succession of outstanding cultural heritage and civilization, prosperity of the culture, but not without criticism in doing so.

 

Key words:  

Confucius;   philosophy of heritage

 

Confucius (551 - 479 B.C.), a great philosopher, educator, Heritage scholar in ancient China, He was born in the Spring and Autumn period, he attaches great importance to universal education, he is the first founder of private schools in China's history. He trained 3000 disciples in all his life, 72 of them have succeeded, to inherit his doctrine of ideas. At the same time, he stresses the preservation of ancient cultural heritage and the inheritance of it.  He not only personally preserved and sifted such ancient Chinese classics as The Book of Songs, The Book of History, The Book of Changes, The Book of Rites and The Spring and Autumn Annals before his time , made an important contribution to the Chinese cultural development,1 but also raised some important philosophic ideas of heritage conservation. Since his background is quite similar with  ours today, his philosophy of heritage conservation may have important significance of the universal reference for today's cultural heritage conservation in the world.

 

                                     

                                                                                     1

 

   Confucius considers that the carrier of cultural heritage will change, but its core message will not change. Heritage conservation focuses on the inheritance and development of the core information. Derived therefrom, a major feature of the Confucian heritage conservation thought is that he pays more attention to the core information of the heritage than the material carriers of the legacy. Once, a disciple of Confucius, Zi Chang asked Confucius: “Can we know the ritual system in the next 10 generations (300 years) in advance?” Confucius replied: “Yin Dynasty followed the rites of Xia Dynasty, what the repealed and the increased, can be known. Zhou Dynasty followed the rites of Yin Dynasty, what the repealed and the increased also can be known. Then, assume that people who inherit the Zhou dynasty and take power, the rites can be also known in advance, even in a hundred generations.”2

Why can Confucius predict the future so confidently? This is because Confucius believes: the succession and innovation of the rites system has its own regularity. Various dynasties would inherit something useful from former ritual system, and something useless would be repealed. Some external form may change, but the real thing will not change. Such as "King governs the state, establishes weights and measures, identifies the article specifications, determines calendar system, sets dress codes, makes a clear hierarchy logo, calls on the civilians to invent the tools with different uses, develops gender-sensitive system, all this can not change. Especially, the intimacy between blood relatives, respect to the people with higher social status, the fear of the elderly, the regulations to the men and women, The core of civilization like the above will not change. "3

Since Zhong-shu Dong in Han Dynasty advocated Confucianism, the thought of Confucius has had a profound impact on Chinese society. His views of inheritance and innovation on heritage of ritual system also had an important impact on the concept of heritage conservation of the later Chinese generations. We believe that this idea of Confucius actually had such an effect on the later generations: all the heritage can be divided into two types, one is spiritual, and that will not change relatively. The other is substantial, that is relatively easy to change. Confucius, as the representative of traditional Chinese people, pays more attention to keeping those core elements which are relatively difficult to change.

This philosophy would later be transformed into relations of Tao and Qi. Here Tao means something spiritual, while Qi means something substantial.  Therefore, we can say that the first feature of the Confucius thought on heritage conservation is that Tao the first, Qi the second. Confucius, There are many specific examples of Confucian emphasis on substance and less value appearance in Analects of Confucius, for instance, he said: "Oh, manners and Etiquette, can they only refer to this type of ritual objects you end wars? Oh, music, can it only mean the  bells and drums in terms of tangible items you see? "4 Clearly, what Confucius values is the social cultural connotations of the etiquette heritage, It is the special provisions of social hierarchy system on human relations.

                                 

 

                                                                 2

 

There is a special thought, which should be cherished in Confucius philosophy of heritage conservation, it is that he stressed not only the cultural heritage conservation and inheritance sociologically, but also the lasting of a line of descent in the cultural heritage conservation biologically.

When he was revising The Spring and Autumn Annals, Confucius once said to his disciples: “I can tell you the ritual characteristics in Xia Dynasty, but its descendants from Qi State could not give me enough evidence to show what I said is right. Also I can tell you the ritual characteristics in Yin Dynasty, but its descendants from Song State could not give me enough evidence, either. This is because of lacking the preserved historic documents and the people who know all of the documents. If we have these two premises, my views would be more convincing.”5 Obviously, Confucius thinks that the original (written) documents are as much importance as the people who know all of the documents. That’s to say, both the various files of heritage and the people with certain special significance or special skills should be protected or conserved. This idea is quite close to ours today. Say, we have to protect or conserve not only tangible heritage but also intangible heritage. Confucius never talks about the issues like cultural heritage in an isolated way, he used to combine the files with the living sages when talking about his heritage conservation.

Because of the impact of this idea of Confucius, the descendants of the historical figures in Chinese history have been protected and taken good care of for thousands of years by the rulers of different dynasties. For example, the descendants of Chang Tao-ling, are still the heads of the Celestial Masters; the descendants of Confucius have been taken good care of in all dynasties even if in our society today. Wherever they are, they enjoy the courtesy and admiration given by the others. It is very important for us to keep the tradition of equal emphasis on historical documents and the people with expertise and experience .Only in this way, can we flourish our civilization of the whole human beings.

The tradition of both Wen (historical documents) and Xian (the people with expertise and experience)6 with equal importance, there are two main points in it: first, we should attach importance to historical documents, namely, the written records or some other material objects retained very seriously. For life is limited, only with the help of pictures with text and other information carriers, can we understand the thinking of the former staff. That is so-called Wen in Chinese. Second, we should be respectful to those who are living people with expertise and experience, including the elders.(That is what we call Xian) The 24th Ceremony in The Book of Rites refers to some traditional practices when emperor hunting in his dukes' areas, it reads: "Imperial Hunting, princes to be greeted at the border. When the emperor arrives at a country each time, those who are hundred years old would be met first by the emperor; when people of over 80 years old walking on one side of the road, the younger people dare not pass them even if walking on the other side. If the elderly want to express their political views, the monarch should listen to them in their homes. If drinking in the countryside, all of the people must be arranged their seats according to age,whether you have official post or not."7

 

 

                                                                  3

 

Confucius also attaches importance to the authenticity of the cultural heritage, though he considers Tao the first,Qi the second. Confucius said: “I like the culture created by the ancient sages very much, I just elaborate it without creating.” 8This statement is said when talking about inheritance. This is the basic attitude of the ancient sages after Confucius towards the cultural heritage. The attitude we have today towards the cultural heritage is almost the same as theirs.

Here we get an important idea of heritage conservation, that is, Confucius thinks that any historical facts that have occurred can not be artificially changed, but only inherit and explain them. This idea of Confucius is quite similar with the authenticity of the modern world heritage conservation standards. So the spirit of historic records spread down from ancient China contribute to the world culture a lot.

In ancient times, China has some officials (historians) who serve the emperor. They accompanied the emperor all day long, and the emperor's words and deeds were recorded by historians. These original records preserved for future generations to write history as first-hand information. In Chinese history, the tradition of writing straight and telling the truth has always been respected by the people.

The following story is a true story took place 2800 years ago in Qi State. Once there was a senior official in Qi State named Cui Shu. After he killed the king of Qi State, the historian at that time who was in charge of record wrote in the historic book: "Cui Shu murdered his king", then the historian was killed by Cui Shu. In ancient times, the historians were hereditary, when the former historian was killed, the successor was his younger brother, still served as a historian, like his elder brother, telling the truth, writing straight, again killed by Cui Shu. as a successor, the third younger brother insisted on doing so, wrote in the historic textbook: "Cui Shu murdered his king.” Cui Shu had to stop killing the official like those historians. At that time there was another historian named Nanshi in the neighboring State, who heard several brothers as historians in one family had been killed, he got very angry and went to Qi State with his writing materials to defend the dignity of historiographers. However he returned home when he learned the tyrant had no longer killed any historiographer. This story tells us the ancient Chinese historiographers attached importance to the authenticity of history, even exceeding the value of their lives. 9

 That is the story of our righteous historians who told the truth in history, and they were not afraid of being killed to defend this good tradition. Later historians were no longer hereditary, although some cowards came from this kind of people, in the eyes of the righteous Chinese people,once they told lies in history, they were looked down upon no matter how high their positions are.

 

 

                                                                   4

 

Confucius once said: “Although there is a monarch in each remote and backward country, it is not as good as no monarchs in the States at center of the ancient China.”10 Confucius said so just from the level of cultural accumulation. If in terms of the thickness of the cultural accumulation alone, the surrounding areas were small and relatively poor, they can not be compared with the State powers in the center.  This should be practical and realistic view. However, Confucius said: "The ritual system of a country's demise, you can find it in her remote areas and the small countries around her."  The era of Confucius is in great disorder, really a troubled period. The political powers were collapsed day by day, Confucius watched the authority of Zhou Dynasty desecrated in great sorrow, but he was able to view the demise of Zhou dynamically. He realized that the system of Zhou had been destroyed, however, in the territory of the Zhou Dynasty there were four remote areas, where it was hard to spread political and military struggles. Therefore the rites, culture, political system of Zhou and some other things related to Zhou Dynasty might stay there.

This is the case even today. For instance, in we Han Chinese cultural circle, the traditional Dragon Boat Festival originated from the central region (Hunan province, China), but the content of the Festival seemed to be faded out by Chinese people for nearly half a century, while in South Korea, which was heavily influenced by ancient Chinese culture, there is a complete heritage of the worship ceremony about the Dragon Boat Festival. Another example is that, a lot of cultural heritage, especially some intangible cultural heritage has been destroyed in many major cities of our country because of industrialization. However, in remote villages, the cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, can be more completely preserved. Confucius’ dialectical view of cultural heritage has a great significance for us to recognize the intangible cultural heritage, to emphasize on rural cultural heritage and to pay more attention to the cultural heritage of ethnic minorities,

Speaking of the attitude to the people from the other nations or from far away, Confucius stresses to win their hearts not by military conquest, but by cultural attraction. He stresses to convince the people not by fighting, but by virtues. He is against the wars while pursue the peace and development.11 This is the same as the philosophy that we emphasize on peace and development in our times.

 

                                                                 5

 

Confucius stresses that "A gentleman should accept good opinions from different kinds of people. No matter the people he likes or not." 12( The Analects of Confucius ? Weiling Gong ) This is another important heritage conservation idea of Confucius, which led to various types of legal existence of the later Chinese cultural heritage. Because the rulers were easy to develop a self-righteous mentality of theirs, It was a common phenomenon that the battle losers as well as their associated cultural heritage were despised in the old days. Confucius's greatness lies in: he has long taken note of the culture and politics are two things that should not be confused. The greatness of this idea is that the destruction of cultural heritage can be avoided when power politics suppress their political opponents during the same time. For example, the movement of China's Cultural Revolution is not a good thing. Although we have a complete negative view to the Cultural Revolution nowadays, people like Ba Jin (an outsdanding author in Chinese literature ) have long proposed to construct a Cultural Revolution Museum. For, politically, the Cultural Revolution, of course not good, while as a cultural heritage, although not good, it should be conserved. Thus we can give the future generations a real negative example.13

“Reviving the extinguished states, restoring families whose lines of succession had been cut off, and enabling those who are talented hermits.” 14(Analects of Confucius ? Yao Yue), These three points are the overview of the thought of Confucius on heritage conservation. Since both the destroyed state power and the historic figures who hid among the general public as the political victims could be only a synonym for failure. But on the other hand, if it is raised to a higher degree of culture, things are absolutely different. Both sides of the success and failure is just a performance showed on the historical stage from a historical perspective, in order to leave the future generations a complete "stills", both winners and losers must be preserved together.

In short, Chinese people's sense of history is exceptionally strong. Even the historical figures has lost their ritual status, we also give them some room in history as much as possible. Even some kingdoms and the state powers were destroyed, the culture of theirs must be passed down and down. This tradition continued for thousands of years in Chinese history, even under the reign of the first emperor of Qin (259-210 B.C.) who is a big tyrant in Chinese history. For instance, there was a great initiative after his conquest of the six kingdoms, the first emperor of Qin sent some painters to draw the capitals of these destroyed kingdoms and then rebuilt the destroyed capitals according to the drawings just outside of his own capital Xianyang city (in Shanxi province),named it a six-state city. Afterwards, Qin dynasty was overthrown by Liu Bang’s force, still, Liu Bang arranged special officers to protect the Emperor Qin Shi Huang's tomb, because a regime can be destroyed by force, but the culture represented by this regime can not be destroyed recklessly by force. For culture is continuous 1.Qin Shi Huang; First Emperor of Qin (259-210 B.C.), there are inheritance relationships between each other. Up to now, China continues the system of prefectures and counties practiced by Qin Shi Huang. Though相关搜索 not a good emperor, he created a scientific system of administrative jurisdiction, China has been implementing such a system since Han Dynasty.

 

                                                             6              

 

Choose and inherit what is good, innovate the culture. The heritage, which Confucius pays special attention to is actually the essential culture of a dynasty in the past. Such as: Confucius wishes to adopt the calendar used in Xia Dynasty, to ride in a carriage popularized in Shang Dynasty, and to wear the hat of Zhou Dynasty, to compose music in the tune of Shao and Wu.15 Again, he appreciated the "Shao" music in Qi State at the age of 36, said: "I'm so delighted with the music that I can not enjoy the dishes with the delicious meat."16 Certainly not all the ancient sages had been admired by Confucius. It is not difficult for us to find from the Analects that only a few such sages as Yao, Shun, Yu, Wen king of Zhou, Wu king of Zhou, Gong dan of Zhou, and Wu Tai-bo. This attitude of Confucius to the heritage is instructive for us to preserve the heritage in our days. To Confucius, inherit heritage with choice is to continue the tradition and innovate the culture. That is the characteristic of Confucius philosophy on heritage conservation.

                          

                                                           Conclusion  

The core value of Confucian thought is benevolence, this idea is actually that everyone should respect to the human culture regardless of color, regardless of their nationality, regardless of country, regardless of factions, regardless of faith, Confucius thinks that everything linked with this kind of ideas of benevolence created by man can be preserved as a heritage, which is consistent with the major goal of human development today. Since various kinds of conservation philosophy of the East and West are all from human beings, therefore the succession of his philosophy of heritage conservation can be universally accepted in the world. In the benevolent umbrella of love, philosophy of a variety of regional heritage conservation should be all respected, as naturally as rivers to the Sea.   

 

 

 

References:

 

1  Sima Qian:  Historical Records . Confucius Family Tree

2  The Analects of Confucius ? On Administration

3  The Book of Rites ? Great Biography

4  The Analects of Confucius ? Yang Huo

5  The Analects of Confucius ? 8 yi

6  (Qing) Liu Baonan: Notes To The Analects

7 The Book of Rites ? Great Biography

8   The Analects of Confucius. Learning

 9 Zuo Qiuming :Zuo Zhuan, Xianggong Twenty-five Years

 Yu Xue-Cai: Comments On The Twenty-five Histories, the University Newspaper of Southeast University  10.12.2007,  20.3. 2008,  30.3.2008.

10 The Analects of Confucius ? 8 Yi

11 The The Analects of Confucius ? Ji Family

13 Ba Jin: The Impressions, People's Literature Publishing House in 1980 edition;

 Yu Xue-cai: on the construction of the Cultural Revolution city, collected in the book of Hubei Tourism in Reform and opening up China University of Geosciences Press, 1993.

   14 Analects of Confucius ? Yao yue

15 The Analects of Confucius ? Duke Wei Ling"

16 The Analects of Confucius? Representation

 

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