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History Research Paper: The aspect of "Ren" in Confucianism (Research Paper Sample)


Research Essay (60%)- Writing a good research essay is a skill that takes lots of practice. With this in mind I will be providing you with many examples of quality writings in the fields of comparative philosophy, history, Sinology, philology, etc. and throughout the course you should be thinking about what you want to research and write about. Issues relating to the historical figure and philosophical persona Confucius are all fair game, as well as philosophical,
hermeneutical and literary issues stemming from your readings of the Five Classics and Four Books of classical Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism.


The aspect of "Ren" in Confucianism
Humanity virtues spell that human beings should be good towards each other. For some reason, some people do not hold on to these human values and end up hurting others. While some lost humanity due to their past experience, nothing justifies any hurtful deeds towards other people. Confucius emphasized governmental and personal morality, justice, kindness, and sound social relationships. Even though the teachings were recorded in the ancient Chinese community, Confucius's teachings are relevant to date because he preached good morals and family and societal unity. Among Confucius's teaching is ren. It refers to the virtue of being human; hence it is a virtue that denotes good quality in a virtuous person. It is better expressed in how an adult protects children, thus considering the outward expression of Confucianism ideals. Therefore, we can equate ren to empathy because a person of ren aspires to help uplift other people. This essay analyzes "ren" and its difference in contemporary and ancient society.
Confucius lived at a time when morality was rapidly degrading in society. He aimed at changing the situation and ensure people live ethically and in harmony with each other. Initially, ren referred to the handsomeness and bearing of a young and virtuous warrior. He then transformed this into the brightness of junzi, who influences other people to act ethically. Confucius believed that one does not need to have high social rank, speech eloquence, and fine appearance to be a junzi (Tan, 375). All it takes is to enhance how you relate with people.
Acquiring ren is not an easy thing as it sounds. Confucius contradicted himself when he said that ren is as close as we want it. Confucius says that he easily gets ren whenever he wants it because it is always close to him (Gardner, 69). At the same time, he contradicts himself when he said that he had studied all his students and found that only one of his students had ren. This meant that it is hard to get ren even though it sounds like something easy to grab. Not everybody can publicly profess to have ren. Confucius reiterated on the difficulties of getting ren as he said he had never attained ren himself
Ren got other interpretations through subsequent scholars. Mencius (371–289 BCE), a foundational philosopher, became very influential and was regarded as the second Confucius. He provided a more insightful interpretation to ren by saying it as an intuitive feeling of commiseration and compassion within the human mind and heart, which is the source of affective and cognitive functions (Chiu-Duke, 496). Mencius gave an example of a child playing around the edge of a well. He says that we feel concerned for the child's welfare through the heart and mind. However, this feeling could not compel him to act on the situation and attempt to save the child from impending danger. He explains that we need ren to enable us to have the compassion and commiseration to act morally and develop the benevolence to help human nature whenever possible.
A country is built by how its people behave and take up the responsibility of propelling the count...

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