The Analects of Confucius

confucius's doctrine

about respecting parents and elders

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In Chapter 6 of Book I, the text presents the sense of duty to one's parents as paramount. Only after one has ensured that their parents are taken care of can they pursue other matters, even if such things are the serious study of literature or other arts.

Chapters 11 and 13 continue with the theme of filial piety. Here, the text introduces the concept of reverence for one's parents or ancestors after their death. If a son adheres to his father's path for three years following his father's death, he can be considered filial. It is not clear as to why a period of three years is necessary, or why adhering to the will of one's parents after their death is considered admirable. What is of relevance is that in Confucian ideals such adherence is necessary to fulfill an obligation to one's parents. This passage also implies a reverence for tradition and respect.