Compare and Contrast
The Analects of Confucius and the Tao Te Ching, although similar in their intent, deliver different aspects of what is the ultimate good in life as well as how to reach that good. Confucius takes a more active view in order to acquire “jen” or good through knowledge, justice and obedience. Lao-Tzu prefers a subtle approach to life in striving for self-contentment. They also differ on the role the government should play in a person’s quest for goodness. These differences create opposing views on what is the true meaning of goodness.
Confucius’ fundamental goal is a society that promotes goodness. From this society, individual goodness will inevitably follow. In order to reach this good, he feels that one must be active in educating herself and acting as a teacher towards others:
“Tzu-kung said, If a ruler not only conferred wide benefits upon the common people, but also compassed the salvation of the whole State, what would you say of him? Surely you would c
Confucius believes that a leader who can instill goodness among her people will subsequently achieve a God-like status, and in fact surpass good. Lao-Tzu, on the other hand, believes that the ultimate good comes from being content with yourself. The Tao does not place nearly as much importance on teaching through action. If government investigates and intrudes, People are worn down and hopeless" (58). If every person lives to individually better herself, and allows the rest of humanity to do the same, then human kind will be better off. Learning from your own life will result in self-content. If one immerses herself in learning, then she will reach the ultimate good. all him Good The Master said, It would no longer be a matter of "Good. Promote those who are worthy, train those who are incompetent; that is the best form of encouragement" (92). "tm He would without a doubt be a divine Sage" (122). When asked by Duke Ai how to gain the support of the common people, Master K"tmung replies, "Approach them with dignity, and they will respect you. He believes that if the government sets a good example for the community, then the people will be better for it, and this is what is most important.