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17 pages (2007/1900); 150KB downloadWOWIO Books
; ISBN: WOWIO-00273
Wu Ting-fang, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary from China to the United States, describes the fundamental teachings of Confucius in this lecture delivered before the Society for Ethical Culture of New York, in Carnegie Hall, New York City, December 9, 1900.
Wu Ting-fang differentiates Confucianism from Taoism, Buddhism, and other "isms" as well as comparing the teachings of Christ to the teachings of Confucius. He notes: "The crowning glory of Confucianism, it seems to me, is that it teaches men to do good for the sake of goodness. It promises no reward, and threatens no punishment. Confucius simply says to every man, 'Do good, because it is good.' Naturally happiness comes to a man for doing good as a matter of course, but it is not regarded as the motive for doing good. In other words, happiness is the effect of goodness, and not the reward for goodness. This is the essential difference between Confucianism and other systems of doctrine and belief; for all other systems hold up constantly before the eyes of the believer a glorious reward for being good and severe punishment for being bad. Confucius alone teaches that goodness is a reward sufficient in itself."
Written before the terrible wars of the twentieth century, the Chinese Envoy also overestimates the hold of science and underestimates the grip of theology: "The advancement of science has compelled the abandonment of many strongholds which religion once occupied. The harmonizing tendencies of the time have necessitated a modification of the 'fire and brimstone' theology of bygone days. I do not know whether people are getting more callous in proportion as they become more civilized; but the fact remains that they no longer tremble with fear when all the terrors of the infernal world are pictured to them by fervid preachers from the pulpit. This is due to the spirit of agnosticism fostered by science. Thus the world, at the present day, is drifting slowly and unconsciously towards Confucianism."