The Nottingham Confucius Institute

NCI holds public talk on Chinese philosophy and the meaning of life

Philosophy talk - pic 1


On 18 November, Nottingham Confucius Institute was delighted to host the fifth session in the NCI Chinese Philosophy Talk Series. Manuel Parreno joined us again via Teams to share a fascinating exploration of Chinese philosophy and the answers it can provide for those seeking meaning in their lives. Manuel is founder of the company "Embrace China" and has a long-standing interest in the country, its culture and philosophy. He studied Political Science and Chinese Language in the US and Chinese Philosophy in China, developing a passionate interest for Daoism and its significance in the lives of people from all walks of life.

Manuel Parreno examined some philosophical ideas from Confucius and Laozi and addressed how they could guide us to become better people. He highlighted how Confucius focused on "external forms" or abiding by "rituals" as pathways to becoming an ethical person. He explained how, by following various rules of etiquette, people can learn to restrain inertia and bad habits to achieve continuous self-improvement. In comparison, Laozi advocated "introspection", that is, the comprehension of "Dao", and the value of consciously doing things in line with nature to live a happy life. Manuel emphasised how this Daoist approach has much to offer modern people living in a fast-paced society. We could gain a lot from learning to reflect on what is worth pursuing or should be pursued, and finding a "way" of action. Then, "under the guidance of Dao", we could choose to act appropriately to ensure we are on a path of goodness, and finally realise a harmonious coexistence between ourselves, nature and society.

Over twenty University staff, students and members of the general public attended the online event. Several participants thanked the speaker and NCI, expressing how fascinating the talk was and their wish to find out more about Chinese philosophy.



诺丁汉大学孔子学院 当地时间2021年11月18日,英国诺丁汉大学孔子学院成功举办了关于中国传统文化的线上主题讲座。此次活动吸引了诺丁汉大学师生和孔子学院学员的积极参与。

该讲座由“拥抱中国”公司创始人马诺(Manuel Parreno)主讲。他以孔子和老子的哲学思想为例,解析哲学对于人生的一个重要意义,即,启发我们成为更好的自己。为此,他重点分析了孔子和老子的哲学思想是如何有助于引导我们成为更好的自己。他指出,孔子侧重于“外在的形式”,即对“礼”的恪守来强调成为一个有伦理道德的人的重要性,“克己复礼,为仁”,这一点对于身处现代社会的人们的修身养性依然具有借鉴意义,从中人们可以学习如何通过接受社会化生活中的各种礼仪规则而主动去克制自己的惰性和不好的习惯,进而实现自我的不断完善;相较而言,老子则倡导“内省”的方式,即对“道”的领悟,而自觉去做符合自然或人的本性的事,从而拥有幸福生活。马诺强调,这样一种方式对于生活在快节奏的现代人来说尤为值得学习,我们只有先反思什么是值得我们去追求的或应该去追求的,找到行动之“道”,然后才能在“道”的指引下选择恰当地行动,确保自己走上向善之路,最终实现自身与自然、与社会、与自己之间的和谐共处。


Posted on Friday 26th November 2021

Nottingham Confucius Institute

Room A23, CI Library
Si Yuan Building
Jubilee Campus
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

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