Korean Buddhism, though divided into a number of sects, is largely dominated by a single organization, the Chogye Order. The order was formally organized in 1935 when the two main branches of Korean Buddhism were merged, but its history really goes back to the 12th century and the revival of Son (Zen) Buddhism on the peninsula.
Though introduced earlier, Son Buddhism did not really take hold in Korea until Chinul (11581210). While a young practitioner he became upset with contemporary practice and started a reform movement in Korean Buddhism. He eventually (1197) with his followers built a large temple and monastic complex, Songgwang-sa, on Songgwang Mountain, which he renamed Chogye Mountain after the home of Hui Neng (638-713 C.E.), the Chinese meditation master and sixth Chan patriarch. Two centuries later, the master Taego (1301-82) would succeed in uniting the various Son groups and, as did Chinul, work for the unification of the various strains of Buddhist thought.
In the years after Taego, the Yi dynasty adopted Confucianism as its dominant form of thought and pushed Buddhism from its favored position at the king’s court. Out of favor, the monks were forced to abandon the population centers and retreat to the mountains, where they established new monastic centers. At times active suppression led to the destruction of temples, the confiscation of their possessions, and the secularization of the monks. In the 15 th century, King Sejong (r. 1419-50) forced the consolidation of the different Buddhist groups into two sects, the Son, with its emphasis on meditation, and the Kyo, with an emphasis on the study of the scriptural writings.
Buddhism experienced a revival at the end of the 19th century, an expansion that continued after the Japanese occupation of the country. The Japanese had a policy of manipulating Buddhist leaders in conquered countries to facilitate social control of the population. However, the leadership withdrew its support when they realized that the Japanese planned to incorporate the Son movement into the Japanese Soto Zen organization. The Japanese did, however, effect one important change in the Korean sangha: they moved against celibacy among the monks and most monks chose to marry.
Common opposition to the Japanese led the two Korean sects to reconcile their different approaches to Buddhism, and in 1935, the Son and Kyo merged, and the Chogye Mountain center gave the name to the united movement. A temple in Seoul, the only major temple within the old city walls, later named Chogye-sa, became the headquarters of the Chogye order in 1936.
A united Korean sangha lasted two decades. When the dust settled from the Korean War, throughout the southern half of the peninsula, it was discovered that in the rural areas, a number of unmarried monks had honored their celibacy vows and were now free to voice their dissent from the earlier changes. By this time, however, the majority of monks were married. The celibate monks fought to regain control and in 1954 won the government to their cause. The unmarried monks took control of the order and the married monks and priests were forced out. The married group formed a new organization, the Taego order, but had to start over as all the property of the Chogye stayed with the unmarried group. In 1985, an order of nuns was created as a Chogye order affiliate.
In South Korea, the Chogye faces stiff competition from Christianity, as Korea has been the site of Christianity’s most successful proselytizing effort, with more than 40 percent of the country adherents. Buddhism now claims less than 20 percent of the population. At the same time, Chogye teachers have migrated to other countries both to establish the movement within the Korean diaspora and to spread the teachings within the larger host populations. of the latter, the most successful has been the Kwan Um Zen School started by Seung Sahn Sunim, with centers in more than 25 countries around the world.
Christian-Buddhist relationships are a focus of modern scholarship, a reflection of the increasing prominence of Buddhism in contemporary Western culture as well as the impact of Western missionary activity on traditionally Buddhist cultures. Historically, Christian-Buddhist relations can be divided into two distinct phases. The first began with the ancient contacts between India and the Mediterranean Basin, which may date to the time of King Asoka (eight century b.c.e.). After the establishment of Christianity there are passing references to Buddhism in the writings of several Christian church fathers, including Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-c. 215) and Origen (c. 185-c. 254), who resided in Egypt. Some have suggested that Buddhism influenced Christianity in its development of monasticism and in the cult of relics.
Beginning with Marco Polo, Westerners began to visit Buddhist lands, most notably China. The Jesuit Order (founded in 1534), inspired in part by news of the Asian world opened by the Portuguese, targeted India, China, and Japan for missionary activity. The missionary endeavor, which flourished in China for several generations, was remarkable for its grasp of Buddhist teachings and attempts to accommodate the local culture, though ultimately the techniques championed by Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) were rejected by the Catholic Church and the material on Buddhism sent back to Rome by his Jesuit colleagues was deposited unread at the Vatican. At worst, Westerners turned on Buddhists in lands they attempted to colonize, with resultant atrocities. However, through the 17th and 18th centuries, contacts between Buddhists and Christians were minimal, though remnants of the early Catholic efforts survived in places such as Macau, the Portuguese colony in China.
A new situation began late in the 18 th century with the development of the world Protestant missionary movement. Blocked from entering India, such missionary churches as the Methodists began work in Sri Lanka, and the American Baptists settled in Burma (Myanmar). Through the 19 th century, missionaries entered China, Japan, and Korea. By the end of the 19th century, China was the single country with the most missionaries. The emergence of the Protestant movement also encouraged a revival of missionary activity by Catholics throughout Asia.
From the beginning of the 19th century to the present, the attempts by Protestants to convert Buddhists has dominated Buddhist-Christian encounters. This effort was mirrored by Buddhist outreach efforts in the West throughout the 20th century. Buddhist evangelical activities have assumed a much lower profile than Christian efforts but have led to a remarkable growth of Buddhism in Europe and North America.
A different way for Christian, and Buddhists to relate to each other began at the end of the 19th century and had its initial significant manifestation in the World’s Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893. While the parliament masked a liberal Protestant evangelical thrust, the gatherings allowed Buddhist and Christian representatives to offer their views on a variety of religious and social issues and manifested the possibilities of dialogue as a means of highlighting similarities and differences of beliefs; establishing working relationships between two religious communities, neither of which was ready to dissolve in the presence of the other; and providing a framework for mutual cooperation on shared goals. The parliament was succeeded later in the century by additional efforts at interreligious dialogue focused in such organizations as the World Congress of Faiths and the World Conference on Religion and Peace.
A new era in building positive Buddhist-Christian relations can be dated from 1961, when Christians from Burma, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and Thailand gathered in Rangoon for an international consultation, "Buddhist Christian Encounter." The conference recommended that Christians begin to show a deeper concern for Buddhism.
In 1964, in the midst of Vatican II, the Roman Catholic Church established the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. one of its major departments is designed to build new levels of understanding of and respect for Buddhism. The council supported Pope John Paul Il’s (1920-2005) periodic meetings with Buddhist and other religious leaders voicing his concern for interreligious dialogue in which the followers of the various religions can discover shared elements of spirituality, while acknowledging their differences. Then as the 20th century came to a close, he offered an apology for the attitudes of mistrust and hostility occasionally assumed by Catholics toward followers of other religions, as part of a broad acknowledgment of the failings of Christians in their pursuit of their missions.
Among the first people to respond to the Vatican call for an exploration of spirituality in other religions was the Jesuit priest William Johnston, who moved to Japan in 1951 and began to practice Zen meditation. As early as 1965 he visited the Christian mystic Thomas Merton (1915-68) and introduced him to Zen. With his two books, The Still Point: Reflections on Zen and Christian Mysticism (1971) and the best-selling Christian Zen (1971), Johnston launched a movement of Christians, especially Catholics in religious orders, to appropriate Zen meditation as a means of Christian renewal. The Christian Zen movement became one of the most noticeable segments of a growing Christian-Buddhist dialogue effort that has flourished since the 1970s in both the East and the West.
It is to be noted that the widespread practice of Zen meditation paralleled a similar appropriation of Transcendental Meditation, a Hindu practice promulgated in the West by followers of Mahesh Maharishi Yogi. In 1989, Pope John Paul II called attention to the spiritual dangers to which Christians who followed either practice were opening themselves. His statement did much to quiet the enthusiasm for Christian Zen.
The pope’s 1989 statement did little to squelch the large growing realm of Christian-Buddhist dialogue, which has done much to foster new levels of respect between the two large religious communities and contribute to a lessening of what are considered illegitimate conversion techniques (such as the use of coercive tactics), which dominated much 19th-century Christian work in predominantly Buddhist lands. Much of that dialogue has been built on the expansive arena of Buddhist religious studies. Most Western universities now have one or more faculty members who specialize in Buddhism, and most colleges offer classes on Buddhist history and beliefs.
As the 21st century begins, Christianity has established viable worshipping communities in almost every country of the world. At the same time, Buddhism has become a global religion. The presence of Buddhist and Christian communities in strength in so many major urban centers has created an environment in which Buddhist-Christian dialogue at all levels has become vital for the well-being of both communities.
Christian Zen is an approach to Christianity through the practice of Zen. During the second Vatican Council (1962-65), the bishops gave considerable consideration to reorienting the church relative to other large religious traditions, including Buddhism. It established the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, which included a department mandated to build new levels of understanding of Buddhism. The impetus launched by the council prepared the way for numerous dialogical efforts from the international to the local level. one early suggestion concerned the potential for followers of the various religions to share elements of spiritual practice, while acknowledging differences in theology and belief.
Even as Vatican II proceeded, the Jesuit priest William Johnston, who had moved to Japan in 1951, had begun to practice Zen meditation. By the time the council ended, he was active in promoting Zen as a useful practice for Christians and as early as 1965 shared his views with the Christian mystic Thomas Merton (1915-68), whom he introduced to Zen. Merton was on a trip to Asia in 1968 when he died in a tragic accident. Johnston went on to become the leading voice in the English-speaking world in promoting Zen as a Christian practice through his two books, The Still Point: Reflections on Zen and Christian Mysticism (1971) and the best-selling Christian Zen (1971).
Through the 1980s, an increasing number of Roman Catholics began to study Zen; leadership was assumed by a number of people, both male and female, in religious orders. Paralleling Johnston in their study in Japan were two Roman Catholic priests, Hugo Makibi Enomiya-Lassalle (18981991) and Willigis Jager (1925- ). Enomiya-Lassalle, like Johnston a Jesuit, began studying Zen with Harada Roshi, the founder of the Sanbo Kyodan lineage as early as 1956 and two years later published his enthusiastic response to what he had discovered, Zen: A Way to Enlightenment. He continued his study under Harada’s successor, Yamada Roshi, and steered many of his colleagues to the Sanbo Kyodan. He was certified as a teacher of Zen in the late 1960s and spent the rest of his life leading Zen events in Europe, especially in German-speaking countries.
The Benedictine priest Willigis Jager followed a similar course and, after his certification as a Zen teacher, returned to Austria and settled at Munsterschwarzach Abbey in the Wurzburg diocese, which became the center from which he spread his version of Christian Zen. other leaders in the growing movement who studied with the Sanbo Kyodan included Niklaus Brantschen, Pia Gyger, Ruben Habito, Thomas Hand, Patrick Hawk, Robert Kennedy, Elaine MacInnes, Kathleen Reiley, and Ana Maria Schlutters.
In the late 1980s, the Vatican, especially the office of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), took under consideration what it saw as the spread of both the Transcendental Meditation taught by Maharishi Mehesh Yogi and Zen meditation within the church. In 1989, Pope John Paul II (1920-2005) called attention to the spiritual dangers to which Christians opened themselves by engaging in such practices. This statement did much to quiet (but by no means end) the enthusiasm for Christian Zen.
A more definitive step against Christian Zen occurred in 2002 when Ratzinger moved against Willigis Jager, at the time the most prominent Christian Zen teacher in Europe. He ordered Jager to cease all public activities, with special reference to his teachings and writing, at the same time accusing him of abandoning the idea of a personal God and downplaying the importance of doctrine.
After a generation of enthusiastic practice, Christian Zen survives but at a much diminished level from the heights of the 1980s. Meanwhile, it has done much to popularize Buddhism in the West.
Chung Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies
The Chung Hwa Institute, a major Buddhist studies institute in Taiwan, traces its roots to 1965 and the establishment of the Institute of Buddhist Studies within the Academica Sinica, the leading scholarly organization in Taiwan. The Institute of Buddhist Studies was founded by Chang Chi-yun (1900-85). Its first director was Chow Pang-tao.
The Institute of Buddhist Studies evolved into the Chung Hwa Institute in 1978, at which time Sheng Yen, a Buddhist Zen master and head of Dharma Drum Mountain Association, became the new director. Darma Drum has subsequently become the institute’s major sponsor. The institute publishes the Chung Hwa Buddhist Journal and the Hwakang Buddhist Journal. The institute has targeted graduate level university students in its attempt to woo people into Buddhist studies. Each year more than 50 students attend classes developed by the institute. The overall goal has been the production of scholars of international stature.
One of the most mysterious yet important substances in Daoist alchemy is cinnabar. Known in Chinese by the generic term dan (lit. "pill" or "elixir"), cinnabar is a mineral compound that (along with gold, mica, and other substances) was used extensively in concocting potions that Dao-ist masters ingested in their quest for immortality. Since cinnabar is reddish in color, it was associated with yang, or male, energies and thought to "revitalize" the blood. Indeed, ancient Chinese regarded cinnabar as the most powerful natural form of yang energies, concentrated sunlight, the very power of life. It is typically found along river-banks or in rocky, mountainous areas. According to Daoist lore, to find a deposit of cinnabar one should look for a special mushroom that takes the shape of deer antlers. This mushroom (Gano-derma lucidum) grows in damp, secluded places over which cinnabar can be found. Its fantastic shape is said to be evidence that the fungus itself is the product of natural alchemical processes and some accounts say it even glows at night.
Cinnabar was highly prized as a means of attaining powers of longevity and often paired with gold (whose yellow color was associated with yin, or female, energies) in the preparation of various potions and elixirs. The close relationship between both substances was, thus, crucial for alchemists to understand. According to traditional wisdom, gold naturally transmutes into cinnabar over time, much as yin and yang give way to each other as part of the natural processes of Dao. Evidence for this intimate connection was also supplied by the fact that deposits of cinnabar are typically found beneath veins of gold.
Chemically, cinnabar is a mercury sulfide that, when heated, separates into its constituent parts, only to reconstitute itself when cooled. As is well known, mercury is toxic and when taken internally often results in "mercury poisoning," a condition marked by delusions and brain damage. In large doses it is fatal. Daoists of ancient and medieval times were well aware of this fact; accounts of their efforts (as well as archaeological discoveries of bodies) indicate that some suffered slow poisoning involving the failure of the liver and spleen, dementia, hallucinations, or even the collapse of the nervous system. Others died quick, agonizing deaths. Still, alchemists continued to work with tinctures of cinnabar as a primary means of attaining immortality through the late Tang dynasty (618-907).
Despite the obvious dangers, the logic behind such practices is quite simple: cinnabar, gold, and other such minerals do not decay. In fact, in the case of gold, they do not even tarnish. Following traditional Chinese reasoning, Daoist masters concluded that preparations of such substances could help prevent bodily decay. There is also evidence that in minute amounts, concoctions of such minerals are actually beneficial and formed an important part of Chinese medical (or perhaps more appropriately, "wellness") practice. Moreover, such chemical preparations have been proved to have preservative powers.
The preparation of cinnabar was carefully guarded by practitioners of "external alchemy" (waidan). Almost all of these masters also engaged in strict regimens of meditation, calisthenics (e.g., qigong), and even sexual yoga to prepare the body for the ingestion of cinnabar concoctions. Instructions for the preparation of cinnabar outlined in such texts as the Xuzhen lijian miaotu (Subtle illustrations of experiences in cultivating the real) specify proper techniques in the use of laboratory equipment (furnaces, bellows, cauldrons, etc.) in order to refine and purify cinnabar potions. Although highly artificial, such practices were modeled on natural processes involving minerals and stones that absorbed yin and yang energies (from exposure to sunshine, moonlight, etc.) over a long period. The most potent forms of cinnabar were said to have undergone nine cycles of refining under carefully controlled conditions that mimicked the "natural furnace and cauldron" (the earth and sky).
In the Baopuzi, Ge Hong states that cinnabar is far superior to herbal potions, going on to detail the preparations and effects of the nine cycles of cinnabar, each of which promises extraordinary powers. Ge Hong writes, "Acquire any one of these nine elixirs and you will be an immortal! There is no need to prepare all nine. Which one you prepare depends entirely on your preference. After taking any one of them, if you wish to ascend to heaven in broad daylight, you can do so. If you wish to remain on this earth for some time, you can come and go freely wherever you wish, no matter what the barriers. Nothing and nobody will harm you." In some of his writings Ge Hong even laments that he lacks the money to purchase the quantities of cinnabar needed to concoct elixirs—an indication that cinnabar, despite its potentially dangerous powers, had a high market value in early medieval China.
In so-called internal alchemy (neidan), the language of cinnabar and its preparations is highly symbolic. Generally, though, it represents the combining of yin and yang energies—a process that takes place in the lower "cinnabar field" (dantian, the lowest of three energy centers in the body, located in the region of the navel) through breathing techniques. ultimately such practices are thought to result in the spiritual immortality of the practitioner.
The traditional Chinese scholar was expected to master the four books and five classics. The Four Books are the four basic texts of Confucianism— the Analects, the Book of Mencius, the Great Learning, and the Doctrine of the Mean. These four were the basis for the imperial examination system between 1313 and 1905. The Five Classics were works of even greater antiquity—the Book of Odes (Shi Jing), the Book of History (Shu Jing), the Book of Rites (Li Ji), the Spring and Autumn Annals (Chun Qiu), and the Book of Changes (Yijing). The Books of History and Rites, and the Spring and Autumn Annals were traditionally attributed to Confucius. A sixth classic, the Book of Music, has been lost.
Confucianism is an indigenous Chinese philosophy and moral code that, among other tenets, puts great emphasis on maintenance of proper social relations. Today Confucianism is a religion with a mere handful of temples, a faith with virtually no distinct followers, and a philosophy associated with a bygone era, that of imperial China. How, then, can we say it continues as a living tradition that lies at the heart of the East Asian worldview?
Traditionally grouped together with Buddhism and Daoism as one of the three "Chinese" religions, Confucianism pales when compared to the other two as a complex religious system. Certainly it sparks little religious fervor in its adherents. But looking at Confucianism on its own terms will help us understand its continuing importance.
Confucianism is certainly a major strand of Chinese history, associated with the teachings of Confucius (551-479 b.c.e.), who lived during the Spring and Autumn period (722-481 b.c.e.), and his followers. The period was one of disintegrating political entities, constant warfare, and competing schools of thought. Confucius was simply one of the teachers often hired by the rulers of the states in northern China. Confucius emphasized certain points in his teachings. First, he held up rulers of the past, especially the founders of the Zhou dynasty, King Wen, King Wu, and the duke of Zhou, as exemplary models of righteousness. These leaders were successful because they had modeled themselves on the sage kings of the past, so contemporary leaders should do the same and follow the lead of the Zhou kings. Confucius tried to reform society through teaching ancient wisdom.
What was at the heart of Confucius’s teachings? He emphasized, first, the importance of ren, or humaneness. This kind of virtue was not limited to the ruling classes; instead, any person of commitment could strive to attain the virtue of humanity. In addition, Confucius taught the importance of empathy and reciprocity. The goal was for the individual to attain the status of a true gentleman (junzi), an idealized individual who embodied learning and virtue.
Confucius’s teachings might have died with him, for his followers constituted a mere handful. But the disciples succeeded in writing down many of his teachings, and these in turn were picked up by a group known as the ru, or ritual specialists. Henceforth Confucianists were known as rujia, the school of ru.
The second great spur to growth was provided by Mencius (Mengzi), the second great sage in the Confucian tradition, who is believed to have lived in the fourth century b.c.e. Like Confucius he was a thinker who gave advice to rulers. He was also a seasoned street fighter in the contest of ideas that characterized his times. He argued with such schools as the legalists, proponents of raw power, and the Daoists, who advocated nonaction. Mencius emphasized that each person contained the seeds of goodness, which could be nurtured. Once a ruler found such energy within, he would be able to rule by example.
The third great sage of Confucianism was Xunzi, who lived in the fourth-third centuries b.c.e., a time just prior to the eventual unification of China under the Qin emperor. Xunzi disagreed with Mencius concerning human nature, which he considered to be fundamentally evil; however, through cultivation one could become good. In order to achieve this transformation Xunzi emphasized education and especially knowledge of Confucian ritual.
HAN DYNASTY CONFUCIANISM
The Qin dynasty (221-206 b.c.e.) had banned Confucius’s writings. By the Han period (206 B.C.E.-220 c.e.) the followers of Confucius were determined to make Confucian thought the official state dogma. They accomplished this by subtly grafting other theories onto a core set of Confucian social ethics. They did not, in other words, seek to discredit other schools completely. They simply appropriated elements from the different sources. The Han scholars also excelled in collecting texts from the past and in writing histories. By the end of the Han period the stage was set for the complete domination of the Confucian way as state policy.
The system of thought that took shape in the Han put emphasis on the individual’s moral cultivation. Of course, there was a larger cosmos with many unknowns. However, the Confucian "persuasion" is to start with things close at hand,then move outward. In other words, such issues as the extent and mystery of the cosmos were not of primary concern. What did matter was the society one found around oneself, in particular the family and relationships there derived. In addition a fixed canon of texts, mainly written by the three great masters but also supplemented with minor texts, was finalized. This Confucian Way emphasized moral cultivation. The first step in developing oneself as a person was to have concern, to care—in modern language, to take things seriously. The Confucian is nothing if not dedicated and conscientious, the polar opposite of the caricature of the Daoist social dropout. The Confucian focus was on cultivating the mind, actually thought of as the heart-mind, and one’s responsibilities as a member of a community.
Confucius Temple at Nanjing, eastern China
The end of the Han era opened Chinese society to a new force, Buddhism. This foreign import generally held sway in Chinese intellectual history for the 700-odd years between the end of the Han and the Song dynasty (960-1279 c.e.). Although political theory remained focused on Confucian values, the truly new and fresh developments were in Buddhism. By the end of the Song, however, Confucianism responded with its own revival, what we call Neo-Confucianism (in Chinese, lixue).The primary figure in this period was Zhu Xi, a philosophical genius able to synthesize various strands of traditional and new thought. He and his followers picked up the grander cosmic vision that seemed to characterize Buddhist thought and grafted it onto the Confucian core message of moral cultivation. They were supplemented by the work of Wang Yangming in the Ming (1368-1644 c.e.). The final edifice of Confucianism was erected in the Qing period (1644-1911 C.E.), before the advent of the modern period.
With the republican revolution of 1911, and subsequent political and social turmoil, many thoughtful Chinese recognized the need to discard outdated ways of thought and modernize. They quickly concluded that everything associated with the imperial system and its centralized, autocratic power structure and palace intrigue had to change. This also meant the replacement of the grounding political philosophy that had guided the Chinese state over the previous 2,000 years, Confucianism. It was easy, from the vantage point of the 1920s, to conclude that Confucianism was finished. However, it was not. Indeed there were value restoration movements in play from the minute the old regime died in 1911. These included religious movements as well as social movements. Confucian scholars argued that there was a core of value in the Confucian heritage. These so-called New Confucians have continued to meet and study and today form the main impulse behind a revaluation of Confucianism. The best known figure in this group is Tu Weiming, a scholar and proponent of third wave Confucianism. The assumption is that just as Confucianism benefited from and responded to the challenge of Buddhism, so will it regroup after the impact of Westernization and the industrial age.
For Confucians, the individual is always a social being. From the awareness of one’s place within the group—family, nation, whatever—arises an overriding concern for the world. But the definition of the human condition is essentially as a social condition, because family ties, reverence for authority, and social stability are linked through the individual’s actions.
Here we can see the dual nature of Confucian thinking: while emphasizing internal cultivation, it also stresses social ties. The individual component of experience is thus often seen to be overshadowed by the push for social stability. Hence Confucianists are accused of being overly rigid and conservative.
The individual is bound by vertical, social ties that connect him or her to tian (heaven) and the cosmos. But horizontal, social ties also constrict and connect. The human condition is social, and there is no need to focus excessively on the impact of forces beyond society, forces that at any rate are beyond comprehension. Ethical cultivation is true cultivation.
Traditionally, the gentleman (the referent was always male) cultivated his self by means of education and meditation. Here education meant constant study and refinement of literary skills, always highly prized. There was in addition a uniquely Confucian type of meditation. Confucian meditation had several forms. First there was a type of "honoring," which focused on human nature as perceived. Later a type of "quiet sitting" was developed from the Song period on. The practitioner sat quietly in a chair, with eyes looking down, and began to still the mind. one should realize a state of calm before engaging with the world. once the scholar is able to attain quiet, a balance with active engagement can be maintained. Wang Yangming later refined this technique to add focus on the individual will, the ability to concentrate. But the goal of all cultivation, ultimately, was to enable oneself to become more fully human, to apprehend the true nature of ren, humaneness.
This survey illuminates the elitist attraction of Confucianism. It was not bashful about focusing on the leadership stratum. At the same time its emphasis on human relations feels particularly modern. There are in fact many today who feel our period could do with a healthy dose of Confucian values. This practical and morally principled persuasion and its adherents continue to attract us to this day.