The Principles Explained (continued)
This principle is somewhat archaic, having to do with the way women functioned in ancient society. The role of women in ancient China was that of constant nurturing of others in exchange for security and protection. A daughter was expected to be totally obedient to her father until she married. After marriage, she was expected to be totally obedient to her husband. If anything happened to her husband, she was then under the care of her eldest son.
Obviously, this is no longer the case. The principle is out dated. Even with this acknowledgment, why is it that when it is presented to a group, some women immediately refute it defensively, and men make jokes about reinstating it? Most importantly, why is it still included, and what does it teach us? Perhaps it makes us look at that past and at all the places where we still haven't healed. It encourages us to look at the confusions and resentments that appear so frequently in our male-female interactions and at the places where we still lack equality. One hopes it will help us to improve those relationships in the future. It also gives us a chance to ponder (whether we happen to be male or female) the archetypal feeling/meaning of femininity in all its forms. For example, the essence underlying a 'mother's radiance' and harmony. Perhaps another way of coming to terms with this principle and its true meaning is by looking at its alternative translation: Chastity. Boiled down to its core, chastity is defined as the nurturing of pure thoughts, kindness, morality, loyalty and righteousness toward our selves and others.
Filial Loyalty or Filial Piety
In the Judeo-Christian tradition we are more familiar with this principle in the form, "Honor thy father and thy mother." Our parents deserve our love and respect simply for the fact that they are our parents. They were the vehicles for our arrival on Earth. The Chinese also believe that we are karmically linked to our ancestors; and by paying respect to them, we work at keeping that link open on a spiritual level. They build altars to their ancestors and believe that we can both get help from past generations and assist the souls of former generations.
On a more mundane level, as we learn to deal better with our families, we prepare ourselves for dealing better with the larger family of man. Our relationship to our selves and our families is the base from which we build everything else. In having and showing respect and love for our parents, we form the basis for loving and respecting the rest of creation.
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