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Home Qunshu Zhiyao 360 Be Sincere and Trustworthy

Esteeming Virtues

The Governing Principles of Ancient China - Qunshu Zhiyao 360

Be Sincere and Trustworthy

Heaven and earth are bound within the natural order, but when actualities are absent they cannot transform and nourish all things. A leader and his subordinates are bound by a mutual commitment, but when sincerity is absent, they cannot work together in mutual admiration. Parents and children are bound by propriety, but when sincerity is absent, they become estranged from each other. Husband and wife are bonded in a relation of gratefulness, but when sincerity is absent, they will end up leaving each other. Friendship is founded on ties of affection, but when sincerity is absent, all ties will be severed. Morality and ethics can help us to manage our tasks appropriately, but it is through sincerity that we can earnestly understand the needs of others as well as the truth of things.

Scroll 48: Ti Lun

In the cultivation of a good character, nothing can surpass the value of sincerity. Utmost sincerity can only be achieved through upholding benevolence and implementing righteousness. By being most sincere in upholding benevolence we can right ourselves and influence people to do the same. By being most sincere in implementing righteous deeds we can transform social customs from bad to good. Using benevolent and righteous values to educate people, the habits of self-correction and doing good deeds will eventually become an acceptable social norm. In this respect, the society will progress in line with the moral principles of heaven.

Scroll 38: Sun Qing Zi

Only a superior person can be trusted to act in good faith. As soon as he loses his trustworthiness, everything he did in his life will be invalidated. Hence, a superior person takes his reputation for being honest very seriously.

Scroll 50: Yuan Zi Zheng Shu

Confucius said: “If you want others to have confidence in you, you should speak little and carry out your words. Your actions will speak for themselves. After a period of time, the results become so evident that no one else could distort the truth from the eyes and ears of the public.”

Scroll 46: Zhong Lun

Zixia said: “When a superior person assumes the position of an official he must first earn the trust of the people before he gives orders to them. Otherwise, people will regard him as oppressive. When a superior person assumes the position of a subordinate he must first earn the trust of his superior before he offers any advice to the latter. Otherwise, the superior will take it as an insult.”

Scroll 9: Lun Yu

If a leader instructs his minister in good faith, the ministers will also serve him in good faith. If a father teaches his children in good faith, his children will also show filial obedience in good faith. If a husband honors his wife in good faith, the wife will also submit to him in good faith. The leaders who adhere to virtuous principles will gain the faithful submission of their subjects in return. With this, all can be educated and transformed without exception.

Scroll 49: Fu Zi

A ruler who pretends to be benevolent is a hypocrite, and he who expects the ministers to serve him earnestly while he treats them insincerely is ignorant. A hypocritical and ignorant leader will not attract ministers who will serve him with undying loyalty. Hence it was said in the book of Shang Shu: “A leader is analogous to the head of a man, and his ministers, the arms and the legs.” It is hoped that the leader and his ministers can work amicably as one body so that they will be able to govern the country properly.

Scroll 48: Ti Lun

Simple honesty is better than subtle hypocrisy.

Scroll 40: Han Zi

Practice virtue and you will calm the mind and become more restful day after day. Practice hypocrisy and you will wear out your mind only to worsen the situation day after day.

Scroll 2: Shang Shu