Confucius – Chinese Philosopher, Founder of Confucianism



Kong Qiu , Kongzi, Kong Fuzi Kong Fuzi
(September 28, 551 B.C. Lu, (now Shandong province) China –  479 B.C. Lu, China) Qufu, Zhou Dynasty
Nationality: China
Category: Votaries оf Spirit
Occupation: Spiritual teachers, Philosophers
Specification: Confucianism
Unique distinction: Founder of Confucianism – humanistic school of Philosophy or Religion, the Greatest Master
Gender: Male

Quotes: 1. I am not an originator but a transmitter. 2. He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger. 3. The Essence of Knowledge is, having it, to use it. 4. Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it. 5. Where so ever you go, go with all your heart. 6. Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. 7. He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. 8. Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.

Achievements and contributions:

Social and professional position: He was founder of Confucianism – humanistic school of Philosophy or Religion, the Greatest Master.
The main contribution to (what is known): Confucius was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher, spiritual teacher, political theorist and minor political official. His philosophy is aimed at bring in moral principle into the exercise of political power: to substitute government by virtue for government by force.
Contributions:  His philosophy is aimed at bring in moral principle into the exercise of political power: to substitute government by virtue for government by force.
His philosophy emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity.
By cultivating humanity (jen), a person becomes great in personal and public life, and when all individuals do this, happiness will be achieved.
Doing this requires observing the rules of propriety (li) embedded in social life. Li is the principle that channels respect for each other and for the world, and regulates human nature.
The Way (Tao) is to live within the structures of the social order, adopting the virtues appropriate to a son, mother, ruler.
His theory of ethics as exemplified in Lǐ is based on three important conceptual aspects of life: ceremonies associated with sacrifice to ancestors and deities, social and political institutions, and the etiquette of daily behavior.
His moral teachings emphasized self-cultivation, emulation of moral exemplars, and the attainment of skilled judgment rather than knowledge of rules.
He puts the greatest emphasis on the importance of study. Thus Confucius saw education as a process of constant self-improvement and held that its primary function was the training of noblemen (junzi).
Noblemen are rulers devoted to their people, striving for personal and social perfection.
The five elements of the primordial nature, which is pure and perfect (Wuchang) or five cardinal virtues of the Noble man:
1. Jen (Ren) humanity, love for people, mercy, benelovence
2. Yi- rightness, uprightness of mind.
3. Li – literally custom, ritual.
4. Сjii (Zhi) – wisdom; common sense, prudence.
5. Sin (Xin) – sincerity, integrity easiness.
He always stressed on superiority of personal exemplification over explicit rules of behavior.
Confucius, an exemplar of human excellence, serves as the ultimate model, rather than a deity or a universally true set of abstract principles. Confucianism views man as potentially the most perfect form of li, the ultimate embodiment of good.
Confucius wanted to build a grand harmonious and humanistic society. Not strictly religious, the teachings of Confucius were a utilitarian approach to social harmony and defined moral obligations between individuals and social systems. He saw public service as the natural consequence of education and sought to revitalize Chinese social institutions, including the family, school, community and state.
Major works:   “Analects” (“Conversations and judgments”), Spring and Autumn, (722 -481 BC. E.).

Career and Personal life:

Origin: He was born in 551 BCE in the feudal state of Lu, in modern Shandong Province. He was the son of 63-year-old clerk, ex-warrior Shuliangh and 17-year-old pretty girle named Yan Zhengzai.  Confucius lost his father when he was three years old, and then his mother took him and left the fiefdom. They lived in poverty and when Confucius was seventeen years old, his mother died of illness and overwork.
Education: He began to work as a bookkeeper while obstinately educating himself. Soon he became an influential teacher of the sons of wealthy families.
Career highlights:  Settling once more he became the most celebrated teacher of poetry, history, and moral philosophy of Chinese history.
From about his 55th to his 65th year he journeyed to several neighboring states. In times of division, chaos, and endless wars between feudal states, he wanted to restore the Mandate of Heaven  that could unify the “world” (all under Heaven) and bestow peace and prosperity on the people.
After self-imposed exile he returned to Lu at age 67 to teach and write. His life and thoughts are recorded in the Lunyu (Analects).
Buried, K’ung Forest, China.
Personal life:  When he was twenty years old he married a young woman who was from the Qiguan family of the Song state . He served in government posts, eventually becoming minister of justice in his native state Lu, but his policies attracted little interest.
Zest: Confucius presents himself as a “transmitter who invented nothing”. He is the author of the golden rule of ethics: Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself. Aphorism: “A picture is worth ten thousand words”. History. When the stables were burnt down, on returning from court, Confucius said, ‘Was anyone hurt?’ He did not ask about the horses. Confucius demonstrated that a sage values human beings above all. It was introduced to Europe by the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci, who was the first to Latinise the name as “Confucius.”
Confucianism is often followed in a religious manner by the Chinese. It was believed by some that lǐ originated from the heavens. Confucius’s view was more philosophical and nuanced. His approach stressed the development of lǐ through the actions of sage leaders in human history, with less emphasis on its connection with heaven. His major work “Analects” is a collection of “brief aphoristic fragments”, which was compiled many years after his death. This book influences indirectly, through allusions, innuendo, and even tautology.
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