- The name “Confucius” is a Latinized form of the Mandarin Chinese “Kǒng Fūzǐ” (孔夫子, meaning “Master Kǒng”).
- It is thought that Confucius was born on September 28, 551 BC, in the district of Zou near present-day Qufu, China.
- The area was notionally controlled by the kings of Zhou His father Kong He was an elderly commandant of the local Lu garrison.
- He died when Confucius was three years old, and Confucius was raised by his mother Yan Zhengzai.
- His mother would later die at less than 40 years of age. At age 19 he married Qiguan, and a year later the couple had their first child, Kong Li .Qiguan and Confucius would later have two daughters together.
- Confucius was educated at schools for commoners, where he studied and learned the Six Arts( Rites, Music,Archery, Charioteering,Calligraphy,Mathematics).
- 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.
- Confucius had built up a considerable reputation through his teachings, while the families came to see the value of proper conduct and righteousness, so they could achieve loyalty to a legitimate government.
- In his late 40s and early 50s Confucius served first as a magistrate, then as an assistant minister of public works, and eventually as minister of justice in the state of Lu.
- At 56, when he realized that his superiors were uninterested in his policies, Confucius left the country in an attempt to find another feudal state to which he could render his service.
- Despite his political frustration he was accompanied by an expanding circle of students during this self-imposed exile of almost 12 years.
RETURN AND DEATH
- Confucius returned home to his native Lu when he was 68, after he was invited to do so by Ji Kangzi, the chief minister of Lu.
- The Analects depict him spending his last years teaching 72 or 77 disciples and transmitting the old wisdom via a set of texts called the Five Classics.
- Burdened by the loss of both his son and his favorite disciples, he died at the age of 71 or 72. He died from natural causes.
- The original tomb erected there in memory of Confucius on the bank of the Sishui River had the shape of an axe.
- 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.
- Confucianism discusses elements of the afterlife and views concerning Heaven, but it is relatively unconcerned with some spiritual matters often considered essential to religious thought, such as the nature of souls.
- However, Confucius is said to have believed in astrology, saying: “Heaven sends down its good or evil symbols and wise men act accordingly”.
FIVE CONSTANT VIRTUES:-
- Compassion (‘ren’)
- Ritual propriety (‘li’)
- Justice (‘yi’)
- Knowledge (‘zhi’)
- Integrity (‘xin’).
- While Confucius believed that people were inherently good, he also saw that virtues like these must be constantly cultivated just like plants in a garden.
- His moral teachings emphasized self-cultivation, emulation of moral exemplars, and the attainment of skilled judgment rather than knowledge of rules.
- His teachings rarely rely on reasoned argument, and ethical ideals and methods are conveyed indirectly,
- Confucius’s teachings may be considered a Chinese example of humanism.
- The Confucian theory of ethics as exemplified in is based on three important conceptual aspects of life:
- (a) Ceremonies associated with sacrifice to ancestors and deities of various types
- (b) Social and political institutions
- (c) The etiquette of daily behavior.