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.
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
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.