Confucius (Kongzi) to be a sixth century BCE Chinese philosopher. His thoughts, to express in the philosophy of Confucianism, have actually influenced Chinese society right approximately the present day. Confucius is a larger than life figure and it is daunting to separate truth from myth. Considered the an initial teacher, his teachings room expressed in short phrases i m sorry are open up to miscellaneous interpretations.

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Chief among his philosophical concepts is the prominence of a virtuous life, filial piety and ancestor worship. Also emphasised is the necessity for benevolent and frugal rulers, the prominence of inner ethical harmony and also its direct link with harmony in the physical world and also that rulers and also teachers are important duty models for more comprehensive society.

Confucius" beforehand life

Confucius is believed to have actually lived from c. 551 to c. 479 BCE in the state the Lu (now Shandong district or Shantung). However, the faster written record of him dates from some four hundred years after his death in the Historical Records of Sima Qian (or Si-ma Ts"ien). Raised in the city of Qufu (or K"u-fou), Confucius functioned for the Prince the Lu in various capacities, notably as the director of Public functions in 503 BCE and also then the manager of the Justice department in 501 BCE. Later, he travelled widely in China and met with several minor adventures consisting of imprisonment for five days because of a case of mistaken identity. Confucius met the incident with common restraint and also was stated to have actually calmly play his stringed instrument till the error to be discovered. Eventually, Confucius returned to his hometown whereby he created his very own school in order to carry out students v the teachings of the ancients. Confucius did not think about himself a "creator" yet rather a "transmitter" of these ancient moral traditions. Confucius" school was likewise open to every classes, rich and also poor.

Confucius" Works

It was whilst he was to teach in his college that Confucius began to write. Two collections the poetry were the Book of Odes (Shijing or Shi king) and the Book that Documents (Shujing or Shu king). The Spring and also Autumn Annals (Lin Jing or Lin King), which called the history of Lu, and also the Book the Changes ( Yi Jing or Yi king) was a arsenal of treatises ~ above divination. Regrettably for posterity, nobody of these works outlined Confucius" philosophy. Confucianism, therefore, had to be developed from second-hand accounts and the most reliable documentation the the ideas of Confucius is considered to it is in the Analects although also here there is no absolute evidence that the sayings and also short story were actually said by him and often the lack of context and clarity leave countless of his teachings open up to individual interpretation. The other three significant sources that Confucian thought room Mencius, Great Learning and Mean. Through Analects, these functions constitute the Four Books of Confucianism otherwise described as the Confucian Classics. With these texts, Confucianism became the main state faith of China from the second century BCE.


Chinese thought and also political philosophy, and an especially Confucianism, has always been involved with useful questions the morality and also ethics. Exactly how should man live in order to understand his environment, administer suitable federal government and achieve moral harmony? central to Confucianism is that the ethical harmony that the individual is straight related come cosmic harmony; what one does, affects the other. For example, negative political decisions have the right to lead come natural catastrophes such together floods. An instance of the straight correlation between the physical and the moral is shown in the saying, "Heaven does not have actually two suns and also the human being do not have actually two kings". A an effect of this idea is that, simply as there is only one cosmic environment, over there is only one true method to live and also only one exactly political system. If culture fails that is because sacred texts and teachings have been misinterpreted; the messages themselves contain the means but we need to search for and also find it.


Another vital facet of Confucius" principles was the teachers, and also especially rulers, have to lead through example. They have to be benevolent in stimulate to success the affections and respect of the populace and also not perform so through force, i m sorry is futile. They should additionally be models of frugality and also high ethical upstanding. For this reason, Chinese education has regularly favoured the growing of ethical sensibilities rather than particular intellectual skills. Further, under Confucian influence, Chinese national politics principally focussed on the intimacy the relationships rather than institutions.

Mencius & Xunzi

The think of Confucius were further developed and codified through two vital philosophers, Mencius (or Mengzi) and Xunzi (or Hsun Tzu). Whilst both believed that man"s feeling of morality and also justice separated him from the other animals, Mencius expounded the id that human nature is essentially good whilst Xunzi, although not of an the opposite position, to be slightly much more pessimistic about human nature and also he, therefore, stressed the importance of education and also ritual to keep civilization on the right moral track.

Confucianism, therefore, expounded the prestige of 4 virtues which we all possess: benevolence (jen), justice (i), observance the rites (li) and moral wisdom (te). A fifth was later added - confidence - i m sorry neatly synchronized to the five aspects (in Chinese thought) that earth, wood, fire, metal and also water. Once again, the belief that over there is a close link between the physical and also moral spheres is illustrated. By stating the all men have actually such virtues, two ideas are consequent: education must nurture and also cultivate them and also all men are same - "Within the 4 seas all guys are brothers". With an ideal application and also proper behaviour, anyone can become a sage (sheng). The is not natural talent which is important however one"s will to mould one"s character right into the many virtuous possible.

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Confucius, Buddha and also Lao-Tzu
Lucas (CC BY)


Following his fatality in 479 BCE, Confucius was buried in his family"s dig in Qufu (in Shandong) and, over the adhering to centuries, his stature grew so that he came to be the topic of prayer in schools during the Han empire (206 BCE-220 CE) and temples were created in his surname at all governmental capitals during the Tang empire (618-907 CE). Transparent the imperial period an considerable knowledge that the an essential texts of Confucianism was a need in bespeak to pass the civil service an option examinations. Educated people and aristocratic family members often had actually a tablet of Confucius" writings prominently presented in your houses and also sometimes additionally statues, most often seated and also dressed in imperial costume come symbolise his status as "the king there is no a throne". Portrait prints were also popular, specifically those taken indigenous the shed original attributed come Wu Daozi (or Wu Taoutsi) and also made in the 8 hours century CE. Unfortunately, no contemporary portrait of Confucius survives yet he is most often portrayed as a wise old man with long grey hair and moustaches, periodically carrying scrolls.

The teachings of Confucius and also his followers have, then, to be an integral component of Chinese education and learning for centuries and the affect of Confucianism is tho visible this particular day in modern Chinese society and various other East oriental cultures v its continued emphasis on household relationships, filial piety and also respect, the prominence of rituals, the value given to restraint and also ceremonies, and the strong belief in the power and also benefits of education.

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We want civilization all end the human being to learn around history. Assist us and also translate this definition into an additional language! therefore far, we have translated it to: French, Indonesian

Mark is a history writer based in Italy. His distinct interests include pottery, architecture, human being mythology and also discovering the concepts that all people share in common. The holds an MA in politics Philosophy and is the publishing Director at WHE.