This I Believe

Wentao - West Lafayette, Indiana
Entered on January 25, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in Confucianism. Many people mistakenly think that Confucianism is a religion; however, it is actually a way of learning, teaching, and thinking. Ever since I began my early years of schooling back in China, my grandpa had always influenced me with the great teachings of Confucius, which have allowed me to grow up respecting my family and other people around me. Most of all, they’ve given me guidelines in life that set me on course to pursue my goals in a conscious manner. Confucius’s teachings involve every aspect of life; from things common to everyday experiences to the fundamental concepts of human nature. One of my favorite quotes of Confucius, “By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice, they get to be wide apart,” speaks very truly of people’s common ground versus their individualities. My Sunday school teacher used to teach me that God created us to be unique in our own way. I think in a similar essence, whether looking at it in a religious way or not, Confucius’s philosophy relates tightly to some of today’s teachings. By applying Confucianism in my life, I believe that everyone ultimately ends up having a collective place in life. However, it’s the way we choose to get there that defines who we are. Sometimes what we do might seem unfit in other people’s eyes, but as long as our actions fall within our own moral consciences, we should not have regrets- “Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.”

I have, often in my life, come across many obstacles that have changed my perspectives on certain things. When my parents and I first came to America, our first home was a 400sq.ft, two bedroom apartment in the city of New York. Similar to many first generation immigrants, my family experienced all kinds of hardships. After only two weeks living in America, my parents were already thinking: perhaps this is not what we wanted, “maybe we should go back,” said my mom. It was then when we met the Zhang family, who provided us with the love of friendship we needed, and most importantly, they offered us hope. According to Confucius, people should forget injuries and never forget kindness. The kindness my family received from the Zhang family will always be the shinning star that gives me guidance in life. There were also times when I was hurt by people both physically and emotionally. On many occasions, I was criticized or scorned for certain actions I performed. Maybe the disapprovals were out of people’s jealousy or maybe they merely disliked me, who knows. But what I do know is that those things are neither important nor will they make my life seem more enjoyable. Thus, I believe, as Confucius said, it is best to forget these “injuries.”

As I am experiencing a new segment of my life right now, specifically college, I seek a new way of looking at life that is different than either science or religious views; and I believe Confucianism does just that.