Down To Earth

Confucius was primarily a man of this world. He enjoyed wine and good food. He also had no visions, did not meditate, did not claim to have any esoteric knowledge, and avoided postulating abstract metaphysical theories. A disciple wrote:

The Master stayed away from four things. He did not put forth theories or conjectures; he did not think that he must be right; he would not stubbornly refuse to change his opinion; he was not self-centered.

For instance, Confucius preferred not to speak of heaven. One of his students commented:

“We are allowed to hear Master’s view on culture and goodness, but about the way of heaven, he will not tell us anything.”

Or, in his own words:

Jilu asked about how to serve the spirits of the dead and the gods. The Master said, “You can’t even serve men properly, how can you serve the spirits?”

Confucius heaven ren goodness