Philosophy of Confucius and Mencius
Our Bridge Club
Reading and writing about Confucius'
philosophy provides me with an opportunity to raise a small (you may
think : trivial) point which I have been wanting to express for some
The absolute top priority of our Social Bridge Club in Darwin is to
create and maintain a harmonious and enjoyable atmosphere at the
bridge tables, so that everyone is having a really good time.
are quite successful at this.
There are always smiles at the
tables all round and enthusiastic discussions about the game
(without unpleasant recriminations) whenever time allows.
Our socials (especially those were we spend more time together -
Ubud, Tumbling Waters, Candidasa), enhance our feeling of
The regular lessons and coaching sessions too,
improve our understanding and skill level of the game, which in turn
makes playing bridge an ever more joyful experience.
This is great and everybody is contributing well to this!
However, it is my belief that this harmonious and very
positive environment should not be locked away just
within our club.
On the contrary, we should also
project our sense of generosity and "goodness" (as Confucius would
call it) to the outside world. Especially towards our
generous hosts, the PINT, the BUFF, Trailer Boat and Tracy Village
But how can we express this in an appropriate way ?
When reading a book or watching a documentary about the ancient
Chinese philosopher Confucius, invariably the story about Confucius'
mat is included.
Before Confucius engages in any discussion with
his pupils or visitors he always first straightens his mat (on the
floor) before he sits down on it.
This is often interpreted as Confucius having a neat and tidy
personality. But this is entirely missing the point which Confucius
Confucius is straightening the wrinkles out off his mat in order
to present a pleasing image for the one(s) sitting opposite
It is a so-called "as
if " situation, where Confucius is placing himself
mentally in his visitor's position and acts from that perspective to
How can we apply this simple example of Confucius's teaching
in our bridge club ?
We are at the Trailer Boat Club.
Before play starts we usually sit on one of the large tables in
the main area, having a chat before moving into the Conference
When it is time to go in, we stand up and walk away
from the table.
Here is an opportunity
Do not carelessly push your chair back and just walk away!
Instead, stand up, then place your chair neatly underneath and
against the table, exactly as it was before you sat down !
What have you just done ?
You have executed a simple act of
kindness. You thought about the person who may sit next on your
spot at the table, and you left it as
if you would be that person yourself !
of goodness, the thought of someone else, not just yourself.
Like other Clubs and Pubs the DTBC employ staff to clean up the tables and
straighten up chairs, but that is besides the point !
is our attitude towards others that matters, and when we as a club
all think and act together like this it sends a subtle, yet
As children our parents taught us to push back our chair
properly after leaving the dinner table. It was part and parcel of
developing "good manners", but it contained the important message
to be thoughtful of others.
Unfortunately here in Darwin this
appears to be the exception rather than the norm !
At the PINT and BUFF Clubs too, we should clean up and rearrange
tables and chairs at the end of our bridge session the same way we
found them when we arrived. I always make a point of doing that
myself, often assisted by one or two like minded club members. This is no big deal and I am happy to do this.
© 2016 Michael
But again, this is an opportunity for you to help, and by doing so
display a small act of kindness and thoughtfulness towards others.
In the process you make a tiny step forward towards becoming a
better person yourself.
Especially in this selfish modern world
we live in we badly need more of that !