Born: c. 551 B.C.E.
Died: c. 479 B.C.E.
Chinese teacher and philosopher.
Confucius was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher, whose teachings and philosophy have deeply influenced Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese thought and life.
The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity.
It was believed that Confucius’s father divorced his first wife at an advanced age, because she had borne him only daughters and one disfigured son. He then married a fifteen-year-old girl, who gave birth to Confucius, very possibly he was an illegitimate child, or a child born out of wedlock.
Confucius is the Latinized name of K’ung Fu-tzu (Great Master K’ung). His original name was K’ung Ch’iu; he is also known as K’ung Chung-ni.
Around 498 B.C.E. , Confucius decided to leave his home in Lu and embark on a long journey throughout eastern China. He was accompanied by several of his disciples (followers).
Confucius was received with great respect by the rulers of the states he visited.He acquired a large following, and the solidification of the Confucian school probably occurred during these years.
Much of his time was devoted to teaching, and he seems to have remained more or less distant from political affairs.
This was an unhappy period for Confucius. His only son died about this time; his favorite disciple, Yen Hui, died the very year of his return to Lu; and in 480 B.C.E. another disciple, Tzu-lu, was killed in battle. Confucius felt all of these losses deeply.
At the age of 67 he returned home to teach and to preserve his cherished classical traditions by writing and editing. He died in 479 B.C.E, at the age of 73.
Confucius was a contemporary of Lao Tzu, they had similar philosophies (e.g. the importance of harmony and balance). He was upset by the lack of morality in his province, and encouraged people to take responsibility for their actions.
Confucianism is often characterized as a system of social and ethical philosophy rather than a religion. In fact, Confucianism built on an ancient religious foundation to establish the social values, institutions, and transcendent ideals of traditional Chinese society.
THE FIVE VIRTUES:
- Jen – goodwill, empathy, generosity
- Yi – rightness, duty as guardians of nature and humanity
- Li – right conduct and propriety, demonstrating your inner attitude with your outward expressions
- Chih – wisdom
- Hsin – faithfulness and trustworthiness
“The Superior Man is aware of Righteousness, the inferior man is aware of advantage.”
“The object of the superior man is truth.”
“Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.”
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.”
“He who learns but does not think, is lost. He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.”
“If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?”
“Ask yourself constantly, What is the right thing to do?”
“Behave toward everyone as if receiving a great guest.”
“The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.”
“Silence is the true friend that never betrays.”
“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.”
“Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.”
“Respect yourself and others will respect you.”
“To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage.”
“When anger rises, think of the consequences.”
“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
“Those who are firm, enduring, simple and unpretentious are the nearest to virtue.”
“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trial.”
“The perfecting of one’s self is the fundamental base of all progress and all moral development.”
“Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.”
“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones”.
“To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.”
“Humility is the solid foundation of all the virtues”.
“Do not be desirous of having things done quickly. Do not look at small advantages. Desire to have things done quickly prevents their being done thoroughly. Looking at small advantages prevents great affairs from being accomplished.”
“To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.”
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SCHOOLWORK HELPER. 2016. Confucianism Beliefs and Teachings. [ONLINE] Available at: http://schoolworkhelper.net/confucianism-beliefs-and-teachings/. [Accessed 20 June 2016].
SUCCESS CONSCIOUSNESS. 2016. CONFUCIOUS QUOTES. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.successconsciousness.com/confucius_quotes.htm. [Accessed 20 June 2016].