Mencius - Great Philosopher of Confucianism
in Chinese Culture
Meng Ke (371 B. C. — 289 B. C.), also respected as Meng Zi or Mencius, was an important Confucianism master in Chinese culture.
He was a student of Confucius’ grandson, and then developed and enriched Confucianism.
Mencius was born into a declined noble family and raised up by his widowed mother, an insightful and decent woman who highly valued education.
After Mencius grew up, he acknowledged Confucius' grandson as master. Gradually, he became an exceptional intellect and attracted many sincere disciples.
In Meng's 40s, he led his students started to travel to different kingdoms, trying to persuade kings to implement his ideology.
Mencius was an outstanding and intelligent polemicist, who impressed many kings.
However, his theory had never been accepted or valued by any of these kings, who were aimed at expanding territory and defeating other states.
Therefore, Mencius returned his hometown in his 60s. Afterwards, he dedicated to teaching and writing, until he left the world peacefully.
Main Ideas of Mencius
People were born with benevolence, loyalty, politeness and wisdom. Good education and consistent self introspection could maintain and improve those kindnesses, and vise versa.
Monarchs shouldn’t expand territory through wars; on the contrary, they need to implement benevolence policies to attract people. That is the best way to make a kingdom stronger and more influential.
Monarchs should take care of civilians like their own children, and behave as moral models. Most importantly, they need to always put civilians’ well being in front of everything.
On the other side, civilians should respect and serve monarchs like their parents. But if monarchs are cruel or incapable, people have the right to overthrow them, even through violent means.
Farmland and property is people’s source of security, and the foundation of a stable kingdom. Therefore, monarchs need to make sure their civilians could obtain certain amounts of land, so that everyone could live in stable and decency. That way, civilians would keep themselves from violence and rebellion.
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