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Confucius

Biographical Information: – Confucius’ name is a Latinized form of ‘Kǒng Fūzǐ’ (孔夫子). – Born on 28 September 551 BCE in Zou, Lu. – Raised […]

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Biographical Information:
– Confucius’ name is a Latinized form of ‘Kǒng Fūzǐ’ (孔夫子).
– Born on 28 September 551 BCE in Zou, Lu.
– Raised in poverty by his mother after his father’s death.
– Married Lady Qiguan at 19, had three children.
– Educated in the Six Arts and mourned his mother’s death.
– Belonged to the ‘shi’ class, between aristocracy and common people.

Political Career and Exile:
– Rose to prominence in Lu through teachings during political unrest.
– Appointed as governor and later Minister of Crime.
– Aimed to establish centralized government through diplomacy.
– Disapproved of violent revolution, sought peaceful restoration of power.
– Exiled due to Qi state’s interference in Lu’s affairs.
– Traveled to various states but saw no implementation of his beliefs.

Legacy and Teachings:
– Confucius’ teachings form Confucianism, emphasizing morality.
– Ideas gained prominence during the Warring States period.
– Legacy includes Neo-Confucianism and New Confucianism.
– Credited with authoring ancient texts like the Five Classics.
– ‘Analects’ compiled his teachings posthumously, influencing East Asian culture.

Ethical Philosophy:
– Emphasized personal exemplification over explicit rules.
– Focused on self-cultivation and emulation of exemplars.
– Form of virtue ethics, conveyed indirectly and contextually.
– Key teachings include reciprocity and virtues for self-improvement.
– Concepts of Li, Yi, Ren interwoven in Confucian ethics.

Concepts in Confucianism:
– Yi (義) closely related to righteousness and reciprocity.
– Relationship between Li (禮), Yi (義), and Ren (仁) defined.
– Ren consists of basic virtues like kindness and benevolence.
– Action according to Li should align with the virtue of Ren.
– Confucius’ moral system values empathy, understanding, and spontaneous ethical responses.

Confucius (Wikipedia)

Confucius (孔子; pinyin: Kǒngzǐ; lit.'Master Kong'; c. 551 – c. 479 BCE), born Kong Qiu (孔丘), was a Chinese philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period who is traditionally considered the paragon of Chinese sages. Confucius's teachings and philosophy underpin the East Asian culture and society, and remain influential across China and East Asia to this day. His philosophical teachings, called Confucianism, emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice, kindness, sincerity, and a ruler's responsibilities to lead by virtue.

  • Confucius
  • Kǒngzǐ
孔子
Tang-era depiction of Confucius by Wu Daozi (685–758)
Born
Kong Qiu

c. 551 BCE
Zou, Lu (now Qufu, Shandong)
Diedc. 479 BCE (aged 71–72)
Resting placeCemetery of Confucius, Lu
RegionChinese philosophy
SchoolConfucianism
Notable students
Main interests
Chinese name
Chinese孔子
Hanyu PinyinKǒngzǐ
Literal meaningMaster Kong
Kong Qiu
Chinese孔丘
Hanyu PinyinKǒng Qiū
Japanese name
Kanji孔子
Hiraganaこうし

Confucius considered himself a transmitter for the values of earlier periods which he claimed had been abandoned in his time. He advocated for filial piety, endorsing strong family loyalty, ancestor veneration, the respect of elders by their children and of husbands by their wives. Confucius recommended a robust family unit as the cornerstone for an ideal government. He championed the Silver Rule, or a negative form of the Golden Rule, advising, "Do not do unto others what you do not want done to yourself."

The time of Confucius's life saw a rich diversity of thought, and was a formative period in China's intellectual history. His ideas gained in prominence during the Warring States period, but experienced setback immediately following the Qin conquest. Under Emperor Wu of Han, Confucius's ideas received official sanction, with affiliated works becoming mandatory readings for career paths leading to officialdom. During the Tang and Song dynasties, Confucianism developed into a system known in the West as Neo-Confucianism, and later as New Confucianism. From ancient dynasties to the modern era, Confucianism has integrated into the Chinese social fabric and way of life.

Traditionally, Confucius is credited with having authored or edited many of the ancient texts including all of the Five Classics. However, modern scholars exercise caution in attributing specific assertions to Confucius himself, for at least some of the texts and philosophy associated with him were of a more ancient origin. Aphorisms concerning his teachings were compiled in the Analects, but not until many years after his death.

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