Confucius was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. The philosophy of Confucius, also known as Confucianism, emphasized personal and governmental morality, the correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. Wikipedia
Confucius (551 BCE - 479 BCE) was a Chinese philosopher, politician, teacher, and wise man who focused on ethics, morality, and strong family loyalty. He founded Confucianism, which was suppressed during the Qin Dynasty, who favored legalists, but was officially sanctioned during the Han dynasty. Interestingly, his countrymen speak of him respectfully as K'ung Fu-tzu, the Master, or philosopher K'ung. He came to be known as Confucius when the Jesuit missionaries brought his teachings and fame to Europe.
Images [Silk painting at right, Confucius presenting the young Gautama Buddha to Laozi, Qing Dynasty]
Confucius was born to a poor military officer, with descendants from the Yim imperial house. He married at nineteen, had a son and daughter, and worked as the state keeper of the granary, later in charge of the public fields. When in 527 BCE his mother died, he retired from public life and began teaching and studying.
Confucius' words of wisdom were first compiled and published for the western world in the Analects (2 BCE), having profoundly inspired many philosophers and people throughout the world with his observations, teachings and deceptively simple words of wisdom ever since.
"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated."
Article information was taken from the Confucius Home Page At Americanliterature.com
- Confucius gave advice that was precise and wise
- Encouraged people to act with virtue, with empathy and justice
- Confucius took no credit for his wisdom. He said he got it from studying the ancients.
- Nature and acting within it’s laws is encouraged (like Taoism)
- Self-improvement and learning from the ancestors are encouraged (way of heaven)
- Humans have a duty to act as guardians of heaven’s creation
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
孔子(Kǒngzǐ, Confucius) was one of the greatest thinkers in the world. During time of chaos and war, he set new standards in politics, morality, and philosophy. He became a statesman in China of 6 century BCE, and created the social foundations of modern civilized China.
The Five Relationships
- Older Brother/Younger Brother
- Each relationship must contain mutual respect and recognition in order for the relationship to work
- Each of us has a moral obligation to perform our role to the best of our ability
- Ancestor Veneration – honoring and remembering the members of one’s family who have died. Ancestors are not seen as gods. Instead, remembering is seen as an important act of Hsin (faithfulness)
Milestones and Symbols
- At birth, the spirit of the fetus protects the mother from harm
- Mother is given one month of complete rest after the birth
- Family members provide for the baby’s needs for the first year
- At the proposal, details of the individuals’ birth (hour, day, month, year) are checked.
- If anything negative happens to the woman’s family during the 3 days after the proposal, the offer is rejected
- The families exchange gifts
- The wedding day involves a procession to each family’s home, a breakfast and a ceremony
- At the ceremony, the bride serves the groom’s parents tea, and they do the same for her
- Relatives cry loudly to inform the community of the death
- The deceased is placed in a coffin with food and significant objects
- The family of the deceased wear clothing of course material
- Visitors bring incense and money to the funeral
- A willow branch is carried behind the coffin on the way to the cemetery.
- Later, the willow branch is placed on an altar in a shrine in the family home to signify the presence of the spirit of the deceased
- The vast body of literature (importance of learning)
- The Five Classics (Wu Wing) and the Four Books (Si Shu) are considered the most important
- The Five Classics pre-date Confucius
- Includes the I Ching or “Book of Changes”, a fortune-telling instruction manual
- Confucianism is influential in Korea and Japan
- Suffered persecution during the Chinese Cultural Revolution
- About 6 million Confucian in the world, 26, 000 in N. America
- Confucian ethics, ideals, and wisdom are becoming popular in the West
A Story from Confucius
A Story from Confucius is a lesson in self-control, published in Chinese Fables and Folk Stories (1908), translated by Mary Hayes Davis and Chow-Leung.
Confucius once heard two of his pupils quarreling. One was of a gentle nature and was called by all the students a peaceful man. The other had a good brain and a kind heart but was given to great anger. If he wished to do a thing, he did it, and no man could prevent; if anyone tried to hinder him, he would show sudden and terrible rage.
One day, after one of these fits of temper, the blood came from his mouth, and, in great fear, he went to Confucius. "What shall I do with my body?" he asked, "I fear I shall not live long. It may be better that I no longer study and work. I am your pupil and you love me as a father. Tell me what to do for my body."
Confucius answered, "Tsze-Lu, you have a wrong idea about your body. It is not the study, not the work in school, but your great anger that causes the trouble.
"I will help you to see this. You remember when you and Nou-Wui quarreled. He was at peace and happy again in a little time, but you were very long in overcoming your anger. You can not expect to live long if you do that way. Every time one of the pupils says a thing you do not like, you are greatly enraged. There are a thousand in this school. If each offends you only once, you will have a fit of temper a thousand times this year. And you will surely die if you do not use more self-control. I want to ask you some questions:—
"How many teeth have you?"
"I have thirty-two, teacher."
"How many tongues?"
"How many teeth have you lost?"
"I lost one when I was nine years old, and four when I was about twenty-six years old."
"And your tongue—is it still perfect?"
"You know Mun-Gun, who is quite old?"
"Yes, I know him well."
"How many teeth do you think he had at your age?"
"I do not know."
"How many has he now?"
"Two, I think. But his tongue is perfect, though he is very old."
"You see the teeth are lost because they are strong, and determined to have everything they desire. They are hard and hurt the tongue many times, but the tongue never hurts the teeth. Yet, it endures until the end, while the teeth are the first of man to decay. The tongue is peaceful and gentle with the teeth. It never grows angry and fights them, even when they are in the wrong. It always helps them do their work, in preparing man's food for him, although the teeth never help the tongue, and they always resist everything.
"And so it is with a man. The strongest to resist is the first to decay; and you, Tsze-Lu, will be even so if you learn not the great lesson of self-control."
A few more Quotes:
“It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve, and bad things are very easy to get.”
“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.”
The philosophy of ancient Chinese
The ancient Chinese philosophy is common to all schools. Veterans in the natural order is the Tao (Dao), which manifests itself in the regular alternation of the seasons and the days and nights. This is the cycle of cold and heat, shade and light, feminine and masculine, the yin and yang. The Tao is the “principle of order” in all of nature, but also to any natural element, so the human being, which is a mixture of celestial and terrestrial influences, Yang and Yin. According to the Old World consists of “three powers”: Heaven, Earth, and Man. Every man is the intermediary between the religious heaven and earth, but only the “Son of Heaven”, ie the King is empowered to fully play this role. The Tao of man comprises all the principles of conduct, moral principles, which can be the intermediary.
Confucius temples are called Kong Miao in Chinese; they are famous for their large scale, rich cultural relic collection, and their artistic value. Among these holy temples, the Confucian temple in Qufu in Shandong Province, which consists of Cemetery of Confucius (Kong Lin), Temple of Confucius (Kong Miao) and the Confucius Family Mansion (Kong Fu) is regarded as one of the holy cities in the world. The Temples of Confucius in Beijing, the Confucian Temple in Nanjing and the Confucius Temple in Shanghai are also well worth visiting.
Confucianism has no official symbol or standard icon.
The symbol most commonly used to represent Confucianism is probably the Chinese character for water, which represents life.
Other symbols commonly used to represent Confucianism include the Chinese character for "scholar" as well as the yin-yang symbol (shared with Taoism) and portraits of Confucius.
- “Confucianism.” Wikipedia. Uses the character for "scholar" to represent Confucianism
- Richey, Jeffrey. “Confucianism: Symbolism.” Patheos
10 Life Lessons From Confucius We Should All Follow
Confucius (551–479 BC) was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history.
The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, the correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. His followers competed successfully with many other schools during the Hundred Schools of Thought era only to be suppressed in favor of the Legalists during the Qin Dynasty. Following the victory of Han over Chu after the collapse of Qin, Confucius's thoughts received official sanction and were further developed into a system known as Confucianism.
Confucius is traditionally credited with having authored or edited many of the Chinese classic texts including all of the Five Classics, but modern scholars are cautious of attributing specific assertions to Confucius himself. Aphorisms concerning his teachings were compiled in the Analects, but only many years after his death.
Confucius's principles had a basis in common Chinese tradition and belief. He championed strong family loyalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders by their children and of husbands by their wives.
He also recommended family as a basis for ideal government. He espoused the well-known principle "Do not do to others what you do not want to be done to yourself", an early version of the Golden Rule
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