Confucius’s teachings are similar to those of the Buddha because they both encourage their followers to question what they are told in order to learn for oneself. Confucius wants the individual to discover truth, rather than simply be told what is true. He believed individuals in their quest for truth were more apt to follow a righteous path if left to their own accord, rather than by following rules. Confucius’s teachings center on the ways in which one can cultivate the self in an attempt to live a good and virtuous life. This self-cultivation was furthered by the individual learning how to judge situations in a proper manner, rather than fully relying on one’s reason to make situational judgments. Through reading Confucius’s teachings, one can note the roundabout way by which he transmits his intended messages. In a way, Confucius’s teachings are also humanistic in nature through their focus on human rights. He even championed a version of what is now known simply as the Golden Rule, but due to its negative structure it is referred to as the Silver Rule: “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.” Confucius’s ethical teachings ask that individuals be virtuous by noting the interest of others in relation to their own interest. This does not mean that the individual is always to put the interest of the other person above their own interest, or that looking out for one’s interest is inherently bad, but that the individual should act in a way that produces the most good.
Comparison of Confucianism to Buddhism