Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Tu Weiming

Chinese Professor Chinese History and Philosophy at Peking University, Ethicist and New Confucian, Director of Harvard-Yeching Institute, Director of the Institute of Culture and Communication at the East-West Center in Hawaii

"We are here because embedded in our human nature is the secret code for heaven’s self-realization. Heaven is certainly omnipresent, may even be omniscient, but is most likely not omnipotent. It needs our active participation to realize its own truth... Since we help heaven to realize itself through our self-discovery, and self-understanding in day-to-day living, the ultimate meaning of life is found in our ordinary, human existence."

"Creation was no accident. God had an intention to breathe life into the world and to make man his masterpiece--so it is written in the Bible. There is no question that each living creature possesses a divine spark of God; all of us, animals included, are God's creatures. God is life and life is God. Every living creature, as a child of God, is of the highest importance, therefore. At the same time, I am greatly saddened by the blatant disregard for life I see every day. If man were taught to treat each human being and animal with the love and respect that is accorded to God, the creator of all things, then perhaps we would not see the shameful neglect of life--murders, wars, slaughters and rapes-that has characterized all of human history. My firm belief is that if we don't respect and love and even worship life, then we don't respect and love God himself. This is the essence of my religion and the reason for my vegetarianism. If man could only realize that God created men and animals to enjoy life, not to destroy it, then man most probably would be a lot happier, and the question of why we are here-which is ultimately unanswerable-would not trouble our minds so mightily."

"Motivated by sympathy and compassion, a humane person establishes an ever-expanding network of interpersonal and cross-cultural relationships. Trust is implicit in these relationships. With trust, legal constraints are simply preventive measures. When interchange among peoples and cultures is conducted in good faith, civility pervades the process and mutual learning ensures. If we have faith in the dialogue among civilizations, we can learn not merely from the wisdom of our own tradition but from the cumulative wisdom of the entire human community."

"If we have to choose one word to characterize Confucian ethics, that word would have to be humanity. The main concern of Confucian ethics is the whole process of learning to be human. This process involves a total commitment, a continuous effort of self-refinement or self-improvement and a holistic vision of the entire project of moral education."

"Your vital energy is returning to the Source like a flowing stream returning to ocean. Heaven is our Father, Earth is our Mother. All people are our brothers and sisters and all things are our companions. In this gentle peaceful journey, you are forming one body with heaven and earth. Entrust yourself in the transforming and nourishing care of the Cosmos. Listen to the voice of love in silence. You have heard the Way; Return Home in Peace."

"Civilizations do not clash. Only ignorance does."

"Human rights without responsibility, without a sense of decency, a sense of compassion, is not good enough for a society to flourish... We need to broaden our scope from the legalistic language to the language of the heart."