Confucianism, the Earth Charter and Ecological Civilization with Tu Weiming

Confucianism, the Earth Charter and Ecological Civilization with Tu Weiming

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Listen to this episode: Duration: 42 min.

Quick Overview

Tu Weiming, one of the most influential Confucian thinkers of the 20th and 21st centuries, contributed to the drafting process of the Earth Charter bringing Confucian thoughts of the importance of interconnectedness and community into its principles. In this conversation he talks about Confucianism, how it can apply to our current societal and environmental challenges, and how it relates to the Earth Charter.

He also discusses the importance of self-cultivation or “learning to be human” within Confucianism. He emphasizes that the purpose of this it not to attain inner happiness or develop individualism. Rather, the emphasis is on the communal act and becoming part of a network of relationships in four dimensions, the self, community, Earth, and heaven.

Questions and Topics Addressed in this Episode

  1. Can you explain the Confucian view of human flourishing which involves four dimensions of our relationship the Confucian perspective of learning (and living) as a communal act?
  2. Can you share some of the key ideas of Confucianism?
  3. In your article “Ecological Implications of Confucian Humanism”, you stated that the primary purpose of Confucian moral education is character building. Could you talk about this?
  4. Can you talk about similarities we can find between Confucianism and the Earth Charter?
  5. What are the synergies and differences between Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism?
  6. How can Chinese philosophies or belief systems help us address some of the social and environmental challenges that we currently face? Especially regarding building an ecological civilization?
  7. You have said that Confucianism and western philosophy and religion can learn from each other without losing the heritage of either. Can you talk more about this?
  8. You have engaged in a number of civilizational dialogues, saying that different cultures can learn from each other and develop a global or Earth ethic in a new Axial Age. Can you discuss the urgent need to engage in civilizational dialogue?

Tu Weiming

Confucianism, the Earth Charter, and Ecological Civilization

Who is Tu Weiming?

Tu Weiming is known as one of the most recognized Chinese Confucian thinkers of the 20th and 21st centuries and has had an immense influence on modern Confucian thought. His writings have connected modern Confucianism to western philosophy and religion, and he also significantly contributed to the thinking behind the drafting of the Earth Charter. He is Professor Emeritus and Senior Fellow at the Asia Center at Harvard University and founding Director of the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies and Professor of Philosophy at Peking University. He has also taught at Princeton and the University of California and has been awarded honorary degrees from universities around the world.

This podcast is developed by Earth Charter International as part of our work as UNESCO Chair on Education for Sustainable Development with the Earth Charter.