Filial Piety The circles of concentric Virtue

This is an exploration of the virtue of Filial Piety. Essential to Confucian thinking, it is a cluster of virtues which honor the relationships of family, immediate and global community. To be filial is to understand your obligations to those who are older and in greater authority with the same care and attention that one pays to your relationship with peers and those who are younger and hold less power. Filial piety incorporates the western virtues of responsibility, respect, compassion, fairness and honesty. It is learned through experience and encounters through the generations. Aristotle would connect to Confucian thinking (as I will explain later) But filial piety is more than a situation virtue: respect for your elders at the dinner table or respect toward the homeless person passed on the street. It is a way of life: one's every decision is framed in terms of how he or she might be fully present to the needs of others and virtuous over the balance of one's lifetime.

On this page is a collection of works by Confucius and his interpreters which tries to illustrate what filial piety is and how interpretation of the virtue has changed over time. Through the selection of visuals, media, texts and commentary, I will try to show you the moral examples and raise the important questions.

might move this quote down into the scroll 1:2 Master You [You Ruo] said, “Among those who are filial toward their parents and fraternal toward their brothers, those who are inclined to offend against their superiors are few indeed. Among those who are disinclined to offend against their superiors, there have never been any who are yet inclined to create disorder. The noble person concerns himself with the root; when the root is established, the Way is born. Being filial and fraternal — is this not the root of humaneness?” (From the Analects of Confucius)

This video provides an introduction to filial piety as loyalty to both family, family honor and state.

I pulled the image from ARTStor - downloaded about twenty images in 15 minutes by doing a search. ArtStor also writes the citations for me and downloads them with the images.... so now all I need to do is paste the relevant information in here.

This video gives you an introductinon to the art that provides the background. May illustrations of the 24 have been created over time. Artstor has a wide variety of examples.

Image: Twenty Paragons of Filial Piety, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle. (Interesting point you might need to resolve - the image is from the Edo Period? You might need to go back and research the ways in which filial piety was re-interpreted by the Japanese. Is there a difference between the 20 and the 24 paragons that focuses upon specifics of filial piety that renders and insight?????

(THIS IS TOO LONG.... NEEDS TO BE SHORTENED TO A QUESTION) Excerpt from the Nü ershisi xiao tushuo (Illustrated Version of the Twenty-Four Paragons of Filial Piety for Women; Wu Jiayou, ed. [fl. 1850-1910]; Ming dynasty original) [The Tale of the Woman Who] Cut Out Her Liver to Save Her Mother-in-Law [There was once] in Xincheng, Jiangxi province, a woman of the Chen family married to Wang Zongluo. Once, while her husband was serving in an official capacity in another province, her mother-in-law became gravely ill with a disease of old age. The wife burned incense day and night, appealing to Heaven. She vowed to shortened the destined years of her own life to augment her mother's lifespan. A physician said, "This old-age malady is difficult [if not impossible] to cure. Only the liver of a dragon and the marrow of a phoenix can save her." The wife believed him, and she said to herself, "Dragon's liver is impossible to come by. Why not use my own liver in its place?" Thereupon, praying for blessings from the Kitchen God, she took up a knife and sliced into her belly, extracting a slice of her liver. Of this she made a broth, which she served to her mother. Her mother ate it, and she declared it delicious. She asked, "What is this?" The wife lied, saying, "It is the liver of a sheep."When her mother finished eating, her illness was immediately cured. Even though the wife felt no pain, the blood of her wound flowed unceasingly. All of this was observed by her husband's younger sister, and the story spread quickly throughout the whole family. When the mother-in-law learned that the wife had sliced her own liver, she cried bitterly and soothed her. The mother lived another twelve years before she died. When the provincial governor, Duke Zhou heard this, he presented a placard for the Wang family gate. It read, "Such marvelous filiality reaches all the way to Heaven!" Subsequently, the wife enjoyed [the extension of] her lifespan to 108 years. [During her life,] her sons and grandsons numbered five generations under the same roof. On the day of her death, she gathered the family together, saying, "I am about to ascend into the heavens [as an immortal]. The Golden Boy (jintong] and Jade Girl (yunu) have come to welcome me!" Thus speaking, she departed.

This might not be the right image to pair.... I am using the Image Gallery.... which allows you to draw from their bank of easy reference, permission granted images. Notice that the I means that they did the citation for me.

Tea ceremony. Notice the pictures above the TV.

This image makes me think about moral examples and about the obligations of those in power. So, I need to find something that fits to this image.

Need to insert the image credit here.

Image: Text on the 24 examples of filial piety, transmitted by Yuanbian, the Great Teacher of the Round Mirror, from The British Library, London, England

Filial Piety in music: Cat's in the Cradle is a good example of the vices in relationships. Parents ignoring their kids and kids ignoring their parents.

This is my set of images of families. If I had lots of time I would morph this out into concentric circles of social obligation that then would end with the individual an the human community.....



Created with images by nSeika - "Tea offering" • frankbeckerde - "baby feet hands baby" • Leonid Mamchenkov - "Blowing candles" • TryJimmy - "grandparents grandpa grandfather" • nevil zaveri ( thank you for 10 million+ views : ) - "lessons from quran, dras" • pellaea - "Mother and Son" • Rex Pe - "student teacher" • maxlkt - "theravada buddhism homage faithfully" • myshadiwale - "wedding india family"

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