Posts Tagged ‘Classic of Xiao’

Incorporating authentic Chinese culture into Daily Life

Saturday, October 13th, 2007

I’ve been asked by persons of Chinese ethnicity who are born in North America to write about incorporating authentic Chinese culture into daily life here in North America.

Well, the first thing about authentic Chinese culture is what I’ve been blogging about for the last few blogs: xiao, or being good to one’s parents. Traditionally, it also involves being good to one’s ancestors. See my paper on this website, 24 Ways to Carry out Xiao, for ways to be good to one’s parents and ancestors. Also, see The Classic of Xiao, written by one of Confucius’ disciples 2,500 years ago.

Carrying out xiao is the most important way to incorporate authentic Chinese culture into one’s daily life here in North America. In fact, all persons of Chinese ethnicity, no matter where they live, should do that. Actually, one doesn’t have to be of Chinese ethnicity, one can be of any ethnicity, and one should do that—everyone should carry out xiao. Whatever one’s ethnicity, religion, place of birth, etc., there should be no difference: it is only moral, just, civilized, and right that one repay the kindness from one’s parents.

Feng Xin-ming


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Xiao` (孝), or Being Good to Parents and Ancestors

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

In Traditional China, 孝 xiao`, or being good to parents and ancestors, is considered the foundation of civil society and the guarantee of moral behavior. (See Xiao Jing, “The Classic of Xiao.”) The idea is that when one is brought up being good to one’s parents and ancestors one will be conditioned to be good & respectful to all the other people that one deals with outside the family. Also, one will diligently fulfill the duties pertaining to one’s station in life, so that one will make one’s parents and ancestors look good, and so that one will maintain the means to support one’s parents and make offerings to one’s ancestors. Thus, the Emperor or Son of Heaven will rule well and be kind and respectful to his subjects, because he has been conditioned that way by xiao and because he wants to bring glory to his ancestors by winning praise from his subjects. Likewise, the Dukes, the Ministers, the Officers, and the Common People, i.e. all the classes of people in society, will also diligently fulfill their duties and be good and respectful to all people they deal with. Thus great order reins, and moral conduct is guaranteed.

Unlike most traditional societies, Traditional China has basically been a secular society. Organized religion has not been the dominant force in Traditional China. At the foundation of morality is not divine commandment but secular xiao`, taught by the secular philosophy of Confucianism. In order to understand the Traditional Chinese worldview, it is essential to understand xiao`.

Feng Xin-ming


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