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Saturday, March 5, 2011

老子,孔子, 神子


The title of this post is Confucius, Lao Zi, and Jesus. They were all considered very wise and lived roughly 2,000 years ago. Confucius and Lao Zi knew each other while Jesus was a few hundred years younger and lived in the Middle East.

One day, someone asked Confucius for his opinion on something Lao Zi said 以德報怨. "What do you think about 以德報怨? Repay wrongdoing/evil with kindness/good?" Confucius wisely answered with another question: "How do we repay kindness?"  Then he stopped being inscrutable and explained: "Repay wrongdoing with justice, repay kindness with kindness."

I use the word justice which is too severe for the original Chinese word  , or straight. Never mind my lousy translation:

「以德報怨何如」子曰「何以報德以直報怨以德報德」
 
Who's right? Confucius and Lao Zi were friendly rivals and had their own fan clubs, I suspect Confucius didn't want to agree with Lao Zi readily but I'm sure he had also expounded upon this himself. What about Jesus?  He claimed to have inherited his wisdom from his famous father so we have to take him seriously also. This is the English translation of what he said on the same subject:

"But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."

Wow! Looks like Jesus was with Lao Zi. However, Confucius won a moral victory among Chinese, "not knowing good and bad" or "不知好歹" remains a very strong insult in Chinese.

Philosophy is a box of chocolates, you just pick what looks good to you.

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