- Daniel K. Gardner
‘The individual and self-cultivation in the teachings of Confucius’ explains that a moral vanguard of individuals is called for by Confucius and his followers. These individuals move others to proper behavior through the power of their example. By practicing the rituals and respecting the mutual responsibilities required to sustain the so-called five relationships—father–son, ruler–subject, husband–wife, older brother–younger brother, and friend–friend—they provide a model for those around them to follow and thereby bring harmony to family, community, and empire. The prominent role played by the individual in creating the good sociopolitical order explains why Confucian teachings, throughout the ages, give such profound attention to the process of self-cultivation.