THE MAN WHO BECAME the father of Confucius was called Kung the Tall because he towered head and shoulders above everyone else in his village. In the modern era Confucian movements, such as New Confucianism, still exist, but during the Cultural Revolution, Confucianism was frequently attacked by leading figures in the Chinese Communist Party. Their apathy and ineptitude, however, allowed the common gentlemen—men like Confucius, who had once been in their service—to step in and take charge of the administrative functions of the government. 289 BCE) took the idea in another direction, seeing it as a trope of Confucius’s achievements (Analects, 3:23). Confucius When was Confucius born? Confucius’s ancestors were probably members of the aristocracy who had become poverty-stricken commoners by the time of his birth. Like other regional states at the time, Lu was bound to the imperial court of the Zhou dynasty (1045–221 BCE) through history, culture, family ties (which stretched back to the dynasty’s founding, when relatives of the Zhou rulers were enfeoffed as heads of the regional states), and moral obligations. He espoused the well-known principle "Do not do unto others what you do not want done to yourself", the Golden Rule. The character of those at the top is like that of the wind. He told his son, “Unless you learn the Odes, you won’t be able to speak” (Analects, 16:13). Confucius did not want children to be acquiescent in situations that call for their judgment. Thinkers such as Cheng Yi (1033–1107) and Zhu Xi (1130–1200), in their attempt to create a new Confucian philosophy to meet the challenges of Buddhist metaphysics and meditative practices, finding preliminary support in Mencius’s concepts of human nature and self-cultivation, subscribed to Mencius’s understanding of Confucius. Although Confucianism is often followed in a religious manner by the Chinese, many argue that its values are secular and that it is, therefore, less a religion than a secular morality. [20] Under the duke were three aristocratic families, whose heads bore the title of viscount and held hereditary positions in the Lu bureaucracy. Proponents argue, however, that despite the secular nature of Confucianism's teachings, it is based on a worldview that is religious. Using a legendary figure to illustrate the key points of his teaching, Mencius related how the emperor Shun was able to emerge from the darkest of family histories (insensate father, cruel stepmother, and scheming half brother) to become a perfected self. Under the succeeding Han and Tang dynasties, Confucian ideas gained even more widespread prominence. He would have preferred a richer and messier history of his legacy over any single line of transmission. In fact, the most violent chapter in the history of the late Warring States Period occurred in Xunzi’s ancestral state of Zhao in the year 260 BCE, when Xunzi happened to be there. Confucius was not [55] His disciples from richer families would pay a sum commensurate with their wealth which was considered a ritual donation. Updates? He is said to have worked as a shepherd, cowherd, clerk, and a book-keeper. A previous marriage had given him nine daughters and a clubfooted son, and so it was with Confucius that he was finally granted a healthy heir. Occupation: Philosopher and teacher Born: 551 BC in China, the state of Lu Died: 479 BC in China, the state of Lu Best known for: Creating the philosophy known as Confucianism Biography: Growing Up Not a lot is known about the childhood of Confucius. [18], Confucius was born into the class of shi (士), between the aristocracy and the common people. [54], Confucius did not charge any tuition, and only requested a symbolic gift of a bundle of dried meat from any prospective student. He went as far as to say that a balanced and discerning mind could offer a more precise measure of right and wrong and that the perspicuity of the mind, not the stirring of the heart, should be a person’s moral compass. Confucius was a philosopher, not a god. I love antiquity and have faith in it” (Analects, 7:1). Confucius's descendants were repeatedly identified and honored by successive imperial governments with titles of nobility and official posts. But the fixation on that subject tended to obscure their more important differences regarding such topics as education and self-knowledge, feelings and intellect, law and adjudication, and the moral risks of a political profession. His father died when he was four years old. Confucius wanted to teach his disciples to be gentlemen-君子. In Encyclopedia, This page was last edited on 16 December 2020, at 21:09. Also, the ruler of Wei was not interested in finding a capable man who could offer him counsel. He said to those who found his ambitions suspect, “How can I be like a bitter gourd that hangs from the end of a string and can not be eaten?” (Analects, 17:7). His ancestry traced back through the dukes of Song to the Shang dynastywhich had preceded the Zhou. The term contrasts with action done out of self-interest. But who would have wanted him dead, and what could he have done to provoke such reactions? Enjoy the best Confucius Quotes at BrainyQuote. Material evidence of the age of the standard text emerged from the ground in 1973, when archaeologists opened the tomb of the prince of Zhongshan (Liu Xiu, also known as King Huai), a relative of the Han emperor Wudi. His father was a soldier named Kong He who died when Confucius was three years old. Aphorisms concerning his teachings were compiled in the Analects, but only many years after his death. Still, Confucius took Zilu in, for he was someone “who did not feel ashamed standing next to a man wearing fox or badger fur while himself dressed in a tattered gown padded with silk floss” and who was so reliable that “by speaking from just one side of a dispute” in a court of law he could “bring a legal dispute to a conclusion” (Analects, 9:27; 12:12). [17], Confucius was educated at schools for commoners, where he studied and learned the Six Arts. Either in conversation with a disciple or with a counselor about the drought in Lu or the cause of social unrest, this was a Confucius animated by speech and still trying to think through the most confounding problems of the human condition. They saw an opportunity to introduce a few new ideas about worth (xian) and nobleness (shang)—which, they felt, could challenge assumptions that had been used to justify the existing social hierarchy. The journey took more than three years, and, after reaching Wei, Confucius stayed there for another two years. The picture was painted on the wooden frame to a polished bronze mirror.[60]. He was misshapen and deformed. Confucius and his companions went only as far as a border town of Chu before they decided to turn back and retrace their steps, first to Chen and then to Wei. Every year on September the 28th, the birthday of Confucius, city authorities hold the Shidian (Chinese: 釋奠) Ceremony here. Share with your friends. The self-exile took Confucius on a long journey: first to Wei, the state just west of Lu, then southward to the state of Song, and finally to the states of Chen and Cai. He was born in a period of religious and cultural turmoil, with the great Zhou dynasty in decline and being replaced by petty fiefdoms fighting for supremacy. Once he grew up, he worked as a state official who handled farms and cattle. He was married at the age of 19 and had one son and two daughters. He found employment first with the Jisun clan, a hereditary family whose principal members had for many decades served as chief counselors to the rulers of Lu. The author, Sima Qian, is China’s most distinguished historian, and the biography remains the standard in Chinese historiography. But when one reads it together with the early classics on rites (see below Teachings of Confucius), poetry, and history, it can take one to the knowledge that Confucius intended to transmit. In 1993, after the discovery of the bamboo-strip Analects, two other groups of manuscripts, on moral cultivation and political thought, were discovered in Hebei province, which led to a revival of scholarship on Confucian thought. At the courts of these states, he expounded his political beliefs but did not see them implemented. Mencius’s theory of human nature is bold. When he was 23 his mother died, and is said to have mourned for three years. Few people knew how to reform themselves in Confucius’s time, and there was nearly no one among their rulers for them to look up to. In 1351, during the reign of Emperor Toghon Temür of the Yuan dynasty, 53rd-generation descendant Kong Huan (孔浣)'s 2nd son Kong Shao (孔昭) moved from China to Korea during the Goryeo Dynasty, and was received courteously by Princess Noguk (the Mongolian-born wife of the future king Gongmin). This, however, did not mean that humaneness was beyond reach. Traditional accounts of Confucius's life relate that Kong He's gra… [23] This way, he could establish a centralized government. None of these stories could claim veracity, but, taken together, they humanized the characters involved and filled, if only imaginatively, the gaps in the historical sources. Tibetan Buddhists see him as learning divination from the buddha Manjushri (and that knowledge subsequently reaching Tibet through Princess Wencheng), while Bon practitioners see him as being a reincarnation of Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche, the legendary founder of Bon. in Tuo, China during a time of ideological crisis. He worked as a keeper of a market. He is said to have worked in various government jobs during his early 20s, and as a bookkeeper and a caretaker of sheep and horses, using the proceeds to give his mother a proper burial. [24] Creel (1949) states that, unlike the rebel Yang Hu before him, Gongshan may have sought to destroy the three hereditary families and restore the power of the duke. [21] However, by the summer of 501 BC, the three hereditary families had succeeded in expelling Yang Hu from Lu. [53] Most of them came from Lu, Confucius's home state, with 43 recorded, but he accepted students from all over China, with six from the state of Wey (such as Zigong), three from Qin, two each from Chen and Qi, and one each from Cai, Chu, and Song. "Master Kong," or Kong Qui better known as Confucius (Latin name) is believed to be born on September 28, 551 BC. However, on the day that Confucius was born, Shu Lianghe briefly seemed frustrated on seeing his "ugly" son. When his disciple Zigong asked him what is humaneness, Confucius replied, “Do not impose on others what you do not want [others to impose on you]” (Analects, 15:24). 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