No matter how diverse religions and philosophies might be, there always is a common thread with each of them. In every single religion of philosophy, there is a specific code of conduct that is considered to be self-rewarding and is promoted as an example for all adepts to follow.
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Though there is a great gap between Confucianism and any other religion – in fact, Confucianism is often referred to rather as philosophy than religion – one can still observe the traces of the above-mentioned common pattern.
Like any other teaching, Confucianism offers the one and only correct code of conduct, which is supposed to help one shape an Ideal person within.
Analyzing some of the aspects of an “ideal person” concept in Confucianism, one can possibly draw parallels between the Confucian and the Buddhist models of correct conduct.
According to Bresnan’s interpretation of Confucius’ postulates, an ideal person from the standpoint of Confucianism is a “junzi,” or a “perfect man.” To be more exact, a Confucian ideal person has a strong connection to nature: “Man is a part of nature” (Bresnan 230).
However, merely being able to relate to nature is not enough to become a truly Confucian ideal of a person; according to the postulates of the teacher, one has to reach the state of a natural order.
Meaning the state of balance between a person and the rest of elements of the universe, the given concept might seem somewhat idealistic. On a second thought, however, the given concept of an ideal person leads to harmony among people, as well as harmony between people and nature.
In addition, a Confucian person is supposed to be dignified and righteous, as well as respectful towards parents and elderly people. Junzi, the “gentleman,” is, therefore, a man who treats the rest of people with respect, according to Confucius’ postulates.
Compared to Confucianism, Buddhism offers a rather different picture of an ideal person. Incorporating 36 ideal features of Buddha, the Buddhist concept of an ideal person is defined in much more details.
While the Confucian concept of an ideal person concerns social aspects, such as the treatment of the others, social ranks, etc., the Buddhist concept of a “perfect man” concerns personal development.
According to Buddhist philosophy, an ideal person is the one who has reached the Enlightenment. Hence, Buddhist concept of a “perfect man” presupposes that perfection comes from spiritual development rather than from the social one.
Hence, it can be concluded that Confucianism and Buddhist offer rather similar models for personal development.
Since the adepts of both strive for growing into an ideal person, it is clear that the process of learning will never be finished, since there will always be something new to learn as long as one cognizes the world and continues developing.
It could be argued, though, that in Buddhism, it actually is possible to cognize the absolute truth and reach the phase of Enlightenment.
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In addition, the Buddhist Eightfold Path is actually split into much more steps; offering 32 stages of personal development, it can be considered a more complicated concept.
However, since both Confucianism and Buddhism strive for offering the path to becoming an ideal person, it must be admitted that both introduce an idealistic approach towards human nature.
Bresnan, Patrick. “Confucius and Confucianism.” Awakening: An Introduction to the History of Eastern Thought. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. 2012. Print.