Confucius 孔子

An eternal teacher who is close to the king of heaven and earth


Chinese Name: 孔子

English Name: Confucius, Kong Zi

Other Names: Kong Qiu孔丘, Kong Zhongni孔仲尼, Kong Fuzi孔夫子

Born: September 28, 551 BCE

Died: April 11, 479 BCE

Achievements: Founder of Confucianism

Confucius  孔子
Confucius 孔子

Brief Biography of Confucius

Confucius孔子 was a great philosopher, politician, and educator in ancient China, the founder of Confucianism and considered to be the “Supreme Sage”.

Confucius  孔子
Confucius was giving lectures to his disciples

Confucius created the style of private lectures and advocated Benevolence, Righteousness, Courtesy, Wisdom and Faith(仁义礼智信). There are three thousand disciples, including seventy-two sages. He led some of his disciples around the world for 14 years and revised the Six Classics(六经:《诗》《书》《礼》《乐》《易》《春秋》) in his later years. After his death, his disciples recorded the words, deeds, quotations and thoughts of Confucius and his disciples, and compiled them into the Analects of Confucius(论语). The book is regarded as a Confucian classic.

Confucius  孔子
Lun Yu 论语Analects

Confucius was one of the most erudite people in society at that time. When he was alive, he was respected as the “saint of heaven”. His thought had a far-reaching impact on China and the world. He was listed as the first of the “top ten cultural celebrities in the world”. With the expansion of Confucius’ influence, the “Confucius sacrifice ceremony” once became a great sacrifice at the same level as the sacrifice of Chinese ancestors.

Confucius  孔子
Memorial Ceremony for Confucius祭孔大典

Confucius’ moral theory

Confucius founded the moral theory with benevolence(仁Ren) as the core. He himself is also a very kind person, compassionate, helpful, sincere and generous.

Confucius’ theory of benevolence embodies the spirit of humanity. Confucius’ theory of rites embodies the spirit of rites, that is, order and system in the modern sense. Humanitarianism is the eternal theme of mankind. It is applicable to any society, any era and any government, and order and institutional society are the basic requirements for the establishment of human civilized society. Confucius’s humanism and order spirit are the cream of China’s ancient social political thoughts.

Confucius’ Political theory

The core content of Confucius’ political thought is “courtesy” and “benevolence”. In the strategy of governing the country, he advocated “governing with morality” and governing the country with morality and ethics is the most noble way of governing the country. This strategy of governing the country is also called “rule of virtue” or “rule of Rites”. This strategy applies morality and propriety to the people, strictly follows the hierarchy, and categorizes the nobility and the common people into the governed and the governed. It broke an important boundary between nobility and common people.

Confucius’ highest political ideal is to establish a Datong society of “the world is the public”. The basic characteristics of the “Datong” society are: the road runs smoothly, “the world is the public”, so it can “select talents and abilities, uphold faith and cultivate good neighborliness”, “people don’t only kiss their relatives, not only their children, so that the old can have an end, the strong can have a purpose, the young have a strong point, the reserved, lonely, the disabled and the sick can be raised”.

Confucius’ Economic theory

The most important part of Confucius’ economic thought is righteousness, which is also the main content of Confucian Economic Thought, which has a great impact on later generations. Confucius’ so-called “righteousness” is a social moral code, “benefit” refers to people’s pursuit of material interests. In the relationship between “righteousness” and “benefit”, Confucius put “righteousness” in the primary position. Because of Confucius’ conservative political attitude, the reform of economic system also reflects the conservative thought.

Confucius’ Educational theory

Confucius first proposed in Chinese history that people’s natural qualities are similar, and personality differences are mainly due to the influence of acquired education and social environment. Therefore, everyone can be educated and everyone should be educated. He advocated “education without discrimination”, founded private schools and widely recruited students, broke the monopoly of slave owners and nobles on school education, expanded the scope of education to civilians, and complied with the trend of social development at that time.

The purpose of his education is to cultivate a gentleman in politics, and a gentleman must have high moral quality cultivation. Therefore, Confucius stressed that school education must put moral education in the first place

Confucius’ educational activities not only trained many students, but also his educational theory based on practice laid a theoretical foundation for ancient Chinese education.

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