The Way of Great Learning

These are the fundamental ideas of Confucius’ teaching, and also the principles upon which Confucianism is based.

The Way of the Great Learning consists of three guidelines and eight articles. The three guidelines are: illustrating virtue, renewing the people, and resting in the highest excellence.

1.Illustrating virtue means that after one’s own virtue become pure and bright, one teaches others to make their virtue pure and bright as well.

2.Renewing the people means causing all the people to know the proper path and to understand principle.

3.Resting in the highest excellence means that all people abide in the most excellent place.

What are the eight articles? They are investigating things, extending knowledge, rectifying the mind, making the intent sincere, cultivating oneself, regulating the family, managing the state, and bringing peace to the world.

1.Investigating things means investigating the natures and principles of the myriad things of the universe.

2.Extending knowledge means using one’s wisdom to analyze in detail the principles of all phenomena, so that ultimate knowledge can be attained.

3.Rectifying the mind means making one’s mind, which is the master of the body, proper and upright.

4.Making the intent sincere means being sincere in one’s thinking.

5.Cultivating oneself means cultivating one’s own virtuous conduct.

These five articles pertain to the study of body and mind.

6.Regulating the family means managing one’s own family.

7.Managing the state means governing one’s country well.

8.Bringing peace to the world means causing tranquility to prevail throughout the entire world.

These last three articles pertain to the study of politics.

These are the fundamental ideas of Confucius’ teaching, and also the principles upon which Confucianism is based. Today I have briefly explained the three guidelines and the eight articles. A more detailed explanation may be given in the future.