The Influence of Moral Cultivation
This refers to the effect a ruler’s virtuous behavior has on his subjects, in the way the wind influences the myriad things. Moral cultivation is an important part of education. The Confucian view is that a ruler should set an example to the people, influencing them unobtrusively. If he is moral and ethical in conduct, the people will follow his example and abide by the rites and moral standards willingly without being under duress. The term also refers to the prevailing social mores in a country shaped by a ruler’s influence.
Jik angzi asked Confucius about the way to govern. What about killing those who are evil in order to enforce moral standard?” He said. Confucius replied, “Why do you need to kill people in order to govern? If you act honorably, the people will naturally follow you. A gentleman’s virtue is the wind and the common man’s virtue is the grass. When the wind blows, the grass bends.” (The Analects)
Moral education refers to the education the rulers promote among the populace, as well as the influence the previous generations exert on the coming generations. (Yan Zhitui: Admonitions for the Yan Family)