If his mat was not straight, he did not sit on it.
I am not making it up. This is a direct quote from The Confucian Analects, a record of Confucius’ discourse with his disciples.
In all that I have ever heard about Confucius, and having finally sat down at the British Library a few years ago to study the writings, I have never found any profound deliberations about big issues, the Universe, Man’s fate, the Mind, the Soul…etc.
This is very curious. (Ok, I have not read everything).
All he ever talked about was how to conduct oneself in a harmonious society, to follow the virtues of the ancients: In ancient times men learned with a view to their own improvement. Nowadays, men learn with a view to the approbation of others.
Oh, he also said don’t eat anything that is yellowed or shrivelled (pinenuts?); meat used in offering ceremonies at home can keep for three days, after three days, do not eat it; that used in temple offerings not overnight. And, yes, he was never without ginger when he ate.
He never talked about extraordinary things, feats of strength, disorder and spiritual beings. He said wisdom was: Respect gods and ghosts but stay away from them.
Mundane things all.
How did he keep so many followers after 2500 years?
It’s the ginger.