Master Kong Said...
Don't Remember Being Wronged

We, in the West, have had problems with Confucius' name.  The Chinese name for Confucius is 孔夫子, which in English script is either Kong Fu Zi or K'ung-fu-tzu.  We merely anglicized it to Confucius.  Regardless, either version means Master Kong in Chinese.  Confucius was born two and a half millennia ago in the Chinese state of Lu.  Tragically, this time period was politically chaotic.  Nonetheless, into that setting, Master Kong addressed the world in which he lived.

While we have no written records of Confucius writing down his philosophy, we do possess the Analects, which were compiled by his disciples over many years.  This is one of the earliest versions of the Analects written on bamboo.


The Analects

One statement by Master Kong that impressed me was "To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it." 


Master Kong

Confucius looked around his world of misery and addressed the way that people should deal with one another.  He understood suffering whether this was personal or that of the larger society's suffering.   

Confucius, in a simple sentence, explained two truths.  The first is obvious.  The world often caused someone to feel wronged.  However, the less obvious point that he made was, if the person continued to wallow in the pain by dwelling on being treated wrongly, that person or group will make the suffering far worse by intensifying it. 

What Confucius preached to his disciples, Randy Pausch said 2500 years later essentially the same thing.  "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."  Pausch was dying due to pancreatic cancer and would be dead in less than a year after making that comment.  Pausch understood what Confucius said.  While Confucius and Pausch understood that truth, not all the world grasps their insight. 

Both Confucius and Pausch had a same message to the world.  Tragically, many in the world haven't listened to either statements.  For example, Trump and Cruz want to be president and lead our nation in troubled waters, but they preach the polar opposite of what Confucius and Pausch understood.  In fact, the two candidates fuss with each other telling the other that they will remember how the other hurt them. 

Forrest Gump, seeing this political nonsense, would say, "Stupid is as stupid does."  Both Trump and Cruz are examples of Gump's statement.  However, followers of both these wannabes follow that leadership.  What Trump, Cruz, and their followers are doing is spreading that cancer further into the society. 

Charles Dickens began A Tale of Two Cities with this single sentence.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities nearly a century after the French Revolution, but that period of suffering was like the present time in which he lived.  What was true for Dickens is true for us also.  We need to elevate ourselves above some of the wannabe leaders who want to lead us.  Remember what Confucius warned us, "To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it."  It was for him the best of times and worst of times.  How we respond determines which time it will be.  It is up to us.

Confucius was asked by a disciple, "Is there any one word that could guide a person throughout life?" The Master Kong replied: "How about reciprocity!  Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself."

This video is an audiobook of the Analects

This is a series of quotes: 17 Confucius Quotes and Analects on Life, Success and Struggle

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Forrest Gump Film Poster

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