Stories of Lao Tzu, Confucius, and Chuang Tzu

This page is devoted to stories of Lao Tzu, Confucius and others who laid down the philosophical foundation for Chinese culture more than two thousand years ago. It is part of our effort to make this website more enjoyable to read. (The story about Chuang Tzu will be posted next month)

 

 


Taoist Philisophy for the 21st Century

            Story 3 (January 2007):           Confucius and Arguing Children  (Written by You-Sheng Li)  

 

            When Confucius was traveling towards the east of China, he came cross two boys arguing bitterly with each other. Confucius asked what their dispute was about.

            One boy said, “I believe that the rising sun is closer, and the midday sun is further away.” The other boy said, “I think the opposite is right: the midday sun is closer, and the morning sun is farther.”

            The first boy said, “The rising sun is as big as the wheel of a vehicle, and the midday sun is only the size of a dish, since an object looks bigger nearby but smaller farther away.”

            The second boy said, “It is cool and comfortable with the morning sun, and it is as hot as being immersed in hot water at noon. Don’t you know that a burning object makes us feel hotter when it is closer?”

            When both boys asked Confucius’s opinion, Confucius shook his head and said, “I really do not know.”

            According to Analects Chapter 2.17, Confucius once said to one of his students, “I am going to teach you about knowledge. What you know, you say you know; what you don’t know, you say you don’t know. Then you are a real knowledgeable person.”(Lieh Tzu: Chapter 5)

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