Who was Confucius? We've all heard "Confucius says........" But has anyone stopped to think who Confucius was? I didn't for a long time but suddenly one day I thought "Who on earth was Confucius?" I'd been hearing the name for years but hadn't a clue who he was. Well...for those who don't know...this was Confucius:



Confucius was also known as Kong Fu-Qiu, a poor descendant of a deposed noble family, was born in Lu, China in 551 BC. His father died when he was 3 years old leaving the family in poverty. But even so, Confucius received a very fine education. At 19 he married and had a son and 3 daughters.

In his early life he worked as a keeper of a market and was also a farm worker and looked after the farm animals. During young adulthood he quickly gained a reputation for fairness, a love of learning and his polite nature. After a period of mourning, when his mother died in 547 BC, Confucius began a career as a teacher. He travelled around and instructed a small body of disciples that had gathered around him.

Living in the second half of the Zhou (Chou) dynasty, when feudalism degenerated in China and vice was rampant, he deplored the contemporary disorder and lack of moral standards. He believed that the only thing to do was to convert people once more to the principles and precepts of the sages of antiquity. He therefore lectured to his pupils on the ancient classics. His fame as a man of learning and character and his reverence for Chinese ideals and customs soon spread through the whole of Lu.

Confucius is famous for his philosophy because he made many wise says in ancient China that helped many people to learn about nature, the world and human behaviour. During his teaching he taught both the emperor and the Chinese government lessons on how the emperor should rule his kingdom successfully. Confucius travelled extensively and studied at the imperial capital, Zhou, where he met with Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism.

When Confucius was 35, Duke Zhao of Lu led his country to war, was routed and fled to the neighbouring country of Qi. In the disorder which followed the battle, Confucius followed. Duke Zhao often came to him for advice but decided against granting land to Confucius. Other nobles began plotting against Confucius' position and Duke Zha refused to intervene so Confucius returned to Lu. But it was no better there than before and so Confucius retired from public life to concentrate on studying and teaching.

At the age of 50, he was approached by the Baron of Qi to help defend against a rebellion, but he declined. He was later made a city magistrate by the new Duke of Lu, and under his administration the city flourished. He gained many promotions and eventually became Grand Secretary of Justice, and at the age of 56, Chief Minister of Lu. Reforms were introduced, justice was fairly dispensed and crime was almost eliminated. In 496 BC neighbouring countries began to worry that Lu would become too powerful and they sent messengers with gifts and dancers to distract the Duke during a sacrificial holiday and when the Duke abandoned his duties to receive the messengers, Confucius resigned and left the country, again travelling and teaching and hoping that some other prince would allow him to undertake measures of reform. During the time Confucius spent wandering China with his disciples he was arrested once and jailed for 4 days. After a fruitless search for an ideal ruler, in 486 BC, he returned to Lu for the last time.

Confucius died at the age of 72 after spending the rest of his life teaching and finally writing. He was buried in a grave in the city of Ch'uFu, Shandong. Today the site of his final resting place is the beautiful K'ung Forest. After he died people honoured all of his work by building temples in every city in China to honour Confucius. Since Confucius' teachings and philosophy was so advanced, it was the education in China for 2,000 years and called Confucianism.

Confucius did not write down his principles of his philosophy, these were handed down only through his disciples. What he did write was a historical work, The Ch'un Ch'iu (Spring and Autumn Annals), an annalistic account of Chinese history in the state of Lu fro 722 to 481 BC.


Some Confucianism's:

By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice,
they get to be wide apart.

Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.

The superior man is modest in his speech,
but exceeds in his actions.

The superior man is satisfied and composed;
the mean man is always full of distress.

The superior man...does not set his mind either for anything,
or against anything; what is right he will follow.

There are three things which the superior man guards against.
In youth...lust.
When he is strong...quarrelsomeness.
When he is old...covetousness.

Without an acquaintance with the rules of propriety,
it is impossible for the character to be established.

When we see men of worth, we should think of equaling them;
when we see men of a contrary character,
we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.

Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes.

A man who has committed a mistake and doesn't correct it,
is committing another mistake.

When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.

What the superior man seeks is in himself;
what the small man seeks is in others.

Study the past if you would define the future.

If a man take no thought about what is distant,
he will find sorrow near at hand.

The cautious seldom err.

When a man's knowledge is sufficient to attain,
and his virtue is not sufficient to enable him to hold,
whatever he may have gained, he will lose again.

He who will not economize will have to agonize.

To be able under all circumstances to practice five things
 constitutes perfect virtue; these five things are gravity,
 generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness and kindness.

He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and
 all the stars turn towards it.

Is virtue a thing remote? I wish to be virtuous, and lo!
Virtue is at hand.

Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.

If a man remembers what is right at the sign of profit,
is ready to lay down his life in the face of danger,
and does not forget sentiments he has repeated all his life
when he has been in straitened circumstances for a long
 time, he may be said to be a complete man.

The firm, the enduring, the simple,
and the modest are near to virtue.

The man of virtue makes the difficulty to be overcome his
 first business, and success only a subsequent consideration.

I have not seen a person who loved virtue,
or one who hated what was not virtuous.
He who loved virtue would esteem nothing above it.

If a man takes no thought about what is distant,
he will find sorrow near at hand.

Virtue is more to man than either water or fire.
I have seen men die from treading on water and
fire, but I have never seen a man die from treading
the course of virtue.

Virtue is not left to stand alone.
He who practices it will have neighbours.

If a man withdraws his mind from the love of beauty,
and applies it as sincerely to the love of the virtuous;
if, in serving his parents, he can exert his utmost strength;
if, in serving his prince, he can devote his life;
if in his intercourse with his friends, his words are sincere -
although men say that he has not learned,
I will certainly say that he has.




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