Founder of Mohism emphasizes self-restraint, self-reflection and authenticity

Mozi taught that all men should be loved equally

  • Mozi


How do we know Heaven loves the people? Because it teaches them all. How do we know it teaches them all? Because it claims them all. How do we know it claims them all? Because it accepts sacrifices from them all. How do we know it accepts sacrifices from all? Because within the four seas all who live on grains feed oxen and sheep with grass, and dogs and pigs with grains, and prepare clean cakes and wine to do sacrifice to God on High and the spirits. Claiming all the people, why will Heaven not love them? Moreover, as I have said, for the murder of one innocent individual there will be one calamity. Who is it that murders the innocent? It is man. Who is it that sends down the calamity? It is Heaven. If Heaven should be thought of as not loving the people, why should it send down calamities for the murder of man by man? So, I know Heaven loves the people.

– from “The Will of Heaven” in The Mozi by Mozi.

Mozi (470-c.391 BC), also known as Mo Tzu, was a Chinese philosopher who wrote during the Warring States Period of Chinese thought. The founder of Mohism, Mozi opposed Confucianism and Taoism, emphasizing self-restraint, self-reflection and authenticity rather than obedience to ritual and custom. His most noted work, The Mozi, includes work by both Mozi and his followers. Perhaps his greatest contribution to Chinese thought was as the originator of Ai, the concept of universal love, as distinct from a too-particular love for family and clan. Rather than loving different people to different degrees, as the Confucians held, Mozi taught that all men should be loved equally. For this reason, Mozi is considered a forerunner of Chinese Buddhism.

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