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Hsiao Ching THE CLASSIC OF FILIAL PIETY I The Scope and Meaning of the Treatise Once when Zhong Ni1 was unoccupied and his disciple Zeng2 was sitting by in attendance on him the Master said The ancient kings had a perfect virtue and all-embracing rule of conduct through which they were in accord with all under heaven By the practice of it the people were brought to live in peace and harmony and there was no ill will between superiors and inferiors Do you know what it was Zeng rose from his mat and said How should I Shen who am so devoid of intelligence be able to know this The Master said It was filial piety Now filial piety is the root of all virtue3 and the stem out of which grows all moral teaching Sit down again and I will explain the subject to you Our bodiesto every hair and bit of skinare received by us from our parents and we must not presume to injure or wound them This is the beginning of filial piety When we have established our character by the practice of the filial course so as to make our name famous in future ages and thereby glorify our parents this is the end of filial piety It commences with the service of parents it proceeds to the service of the ruler it is completed by the establishment of character It is said in the Major Odes of the Kingdom Ever think of your ancestor Cultivating your virtue4 Notes 1 This is the zi or style of Confucius 2 Zeng Zi speaks in fourteen sayings in the Analects eg 14 He names himself a bit later by his ming or given name Shen His name is traditionally associated with
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