filial piety

Special devotion to the needs and interests of your parents.

Complementary virtues

Contrasting vices


Virtues possibly in tension

How to acquire or strengthen it


Notes and links


Mentioned elsewhere


Inspirational quotes

  • “The true philosopher devotes himself to the fundamentals, for when those have been established right courses naturally evolve; and are not filial devotion and respect for the elders the very foundations of an unselfish life?” (Analects of Confucius, I.II.2)
  • Filial piety is not being disobedient… While parents live serve them rightfully; when they are dead bury them with filial rites, and sacrifice to them with proper ordinances” (Analects of Confucius, II.V)
  • “Parents should only have anxiety when their children are ill.” (Analects of Confucius, II.VI)
  • “The filial piety of the present day merely means to feed one’s parents; but even one’s dogs and horses receive their food; — without reverence wherein lies the difference?” (Analects of Confucius, II.VII)
  • “The behaviour is the difficult matter. When anything is to be done, then the young should undertake the burden of it; when there is wine and food, then they should serve them to their seniors. But is this alone to be considered filial piety?” (Analects of Confucius, II.VIII)
  • “In a relationship, it does not matter what the other person does. This man is your father. Your part of the relationship demands that you respect and support him and even tolerate his erratic behavior. He may be a bad father, but remember you are entitled only to a father, not to a good father.” —Epictetus, Enchiridion