农历七月中元节

Hungry Ghost Festival

“Argumentative Writing & The Classics” Series

Good day everyone! Today is our official launch of the series “Argumentative Writing & The Classics”! Please click on the link here to understand the rationale of our series in order to gain more insights and value from reading our content!

For this week’s topic, we would like to bring our discussion to the Hungry Ghost Festival. As we are coming to the end of the Lunar Calendar’s 7th month (Ghost month), burning of incense papers and joss sticks around many neighbourhoods has become a regular sight in Singapore. It is a pity that when presented with the notion of Hungry Ghost Festival or the Ghost month, teenagers are usually either fearful of the supernatural or sceptical towards the superstitions and taboos.

大家好!今天是如苑补习中心第一次正式推出《桥梁•议论文系列》的内容。这一期,我们要讨论的议题与农历七月的祭祀活动/仪式有关。现在大多数青少年一听到农历七月或鬼月就只会联想到种种长辈所强调的忌讳。这使得许多青少年的心态往往跳脱不出以下这两种框架。一,畏惧鬼神,敬而远之。二,批判迷信,不屑风俗。

然而,若我们追溯到上古时期的思想,华人在几千年前就已经有祭祀活动了,而他们对这些祭祀活动的态度是非常正面并值得我们学习的。现在让我们来看看孔子(Confucius)以及他弟子的著作中是怎么描述的吧!

农历七月中元节

Analects of Confucius 论语

Do you know that the Chinese had very similar, or even more elaborated, customs and ceremonies way back in the ancient times (2000-3000 years back)? However, the ancient Chinese’s philosophy/values and rationale towards these customs was definitely insightful and worth learning. For that, let us delve deeper into an extract of the “Analects of Confucius”*.

  • *The Analects of Confucius, is an ancient Chinese book composed of a collection of sayings and ideas attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius and his contemporaries, traditionally believed to have been compiled and written by Confucius’s followers.
Significance of Worship

孔子认为祭拜祖先是“孝” Filial Piety)的体现,而绝对不是因为迷信而祭拜。《论语·八佾》:“祭如在,祭神如神在。”说明了对孔子而言,无论祖先或上天是否在场,祭拜中最重要的是抒发自己那一份真诚感恩的心意。孔子在祭祀过程中不强调外在的迷信,而更注重人内心的真情流露。

According to an extract of the Analects (《论语•八佾》:“祭如在,祭神如神在。”) , Confucius explains that it does not matter whether or not the “heaven/nature” (loosely translated) or the ancestors are present in worship. The significance of these ceremonies and customs is a worshiper’s sincerest appreciation to the “heaven/nature” and the ancestors. Confucius believes that rather than superstitions, these ceremonies and customs are in fact a medium for one’s expression of sincerity to the “heaven” and filial piety to one’s ancestors. In other words, Confucius’ teachings emphasize on the pure virtues and values in the human heart rather than the supernatural and superstitions.

The above highlighted context and the extract from the “Analects of Confucius” are extremely useful as supporting evidence when conveying topics related to “gratitude”, “sincerity” and “filial piety” in your argumentative essays. With some creative modification and also some thinking framework taught by our tuition centre, you could adapt the above context and quote to fit in different essay questions effortlessly!

同学们在议论文中如果想要表达出跟“感恩”、“真诚”以及“孝顺”有关的议题,能够参考以上的段落,稍微进行修改一番,相信就能让你的文采大增!

Applying it in Argumentative Essay​

题目:如何打造一个温情社会?

Point (论点) + Elaboration

我认为在这个瞬息万变的社会中,现代人在劳碌中早已忘却了人与人之间至纯至善的情谊。若想要解决社会中的冷漠,我们得首先学会如何时刻都能禀赋着一颗真诚的心。

Evidence (论据

《论语•八佾》:“祭如在,祭神如神在。”说明了对孔子而言,无论祖先或上天是否在场,祭拜中最重要的是由衷抒发自己那一份真诚感恩的心意。这就如同在人与人之间的相处中,不需过度地在意对方是否领会了你的诚恳。最纯正的真诚就是不图回报地待人诚恳。重要的不是对方对你的真诚所作出的外在回应,而是你内心由始至终的真情流露。

Link

如果我们在对待他人时都抱持着一颗真诚的心,那么社会的温情将会有所提升。如此一来,我们也能更好地巩固与他人的关系。

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