Now filial piety is seen in the skillful carrying out of the wishes of our forefathers, and the skillful carrying forward of their undertakings. In spring and autumn, they repaired and beautified the temple halls of their fathers, set forth their ancestral vessels, displayed their various robes, and presented the offerings of the several seasons. By means of the ceremonies of the ancestral temple, they distinguished the royal kindred according to their order of descent…. By the ceremonies of the sacrifices to Heaven and Earth they served God, and by the ceremonies of the ancestral temple they sacrificed to their ancestors. He who understands the ceremonies of the sacrifices to Heaven and Earth, and the meaning of the several sacrifices to ancestors, would find the government of a kingdom as easy as to look into his palm!
– from The Doctrine of the Mean by Confucius
Confucius (551-479 BC) was a Chinese philosopher whose doctrines emphasized a morality, both personal and political, based on justice. Often referred to in the West as the “Chinese Aristotle,” he also codified many of the traditional Chinese customs and beliefs such as family loyalty, ancestor veneration as part of the Chinese understanding of divinity, and respect for elders by children and husbands by their wives. Like Aristotle, too, he held the family as the foundation for any successful political order. He also has been attributed as the author of the Golden Rule.