Name Chinese : 孔 夫 子 ; pinyin : Kǒng Fūzǐ; or K'ung-fu-tzu), and also : K'ung Ch'iu literary meaning. " Master Kung, “ Western historians called “Confucius”
It was introduced to Europe by the Jesuit Matteo Ricci, who was the first to Latinize the name as "Confucius” and he also introduced the Confucius ideology called “Confucianism.” Introduced to Europe
Biography Confucius was born in 551 BC near the city of Qufu, in the Chinese State of Lu (now part of Shandong Province). Early accounts say that he was born into a poor but noble family that had fallen on hard times.
Shuliang He, was a commander of a district in the state of Lu. It was believed that Confucius's father divorced his first wife at an advanced age, because she had borne him nine daughters and one disfigured son. His Father
At the age of seventy, he then married a fifteen-year-old girl from the Yen clan, who gave birth to Confucius. Unfortunately, he died when Confucius was of three years and left the family in misery and poverty.
Confucius was brought up in poverty by his mother. His social ascendancy linked him to the growing class , a class whose status lay between that of the old nobility and the common people, that comprised men who sought social positions on the basis of talents and skills, rather than heredity. Early Age
But Confucius nevertheless received a fine education and became great philosopher and politician.
He married a young girl named Qi Quan ( 亓官 ) at nineteen and they had their first child Kong Li ( 孔鯉 ) when he was twenty. After this, he had two daughters. His Family
When he was of 23, his mother died in 527 BC, and after a period of mourning he began his career as a teacher, usually traveling about and instructing the small body of disciples that had gathered around him. Career Building
Confucius is also reported to have worked as a shepherd, cowherd, clerk and book-keeper. He also worked for the governor of his district.
Confucius was the founder of the school of philosophy known as the Ju or Confucianism, which is still very influential in China. Confucius taught in his school for many years. His theories and principles were spread throughout China by his disciples, and soon many people learned from his wise sayings. As Teacher
In the Zhou dynasty (1027-256 BC), when feudalism degenerated in China, Confucius deplored the contemporary disorder and lack of moral standards. He came to believe that the only remedy was to convert people to the principles and precepts of the sages of antiquity. He therefore lectured to his pupils on the ancient classics.
Sooner, His fame as a man of learning and character and his reverence for Chinese ideals and customs vastly spread through the state of Lu. He was recognized as a thinker of social and political matters with deep ideas and philosophy. Fame of Ideology
His philosophy emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of relationships, justice and sincerity.
These values gained prominence in China over other doctrines, such as Legalism or Taoism over the dynasties. Confucius' thoughts were developed into a system of philosophy known as “Confucianism.” Prominence of Ideology
He taught the great political ideology of the power of example to rulers and political bodies. Rulers and politician, he said, can be great only if they themselves lead exemplary lives, and were they willing to be guided by moral principles, their states would inevitably become prosperous and happy. Confucius Political Ideology
Confucius Political Ideology provided the political thoughts, philosophy and theories. Those were golden principles for the rulers and politicians. He emphasized on truth, honesty and fulfillment of promise. Following were his enlightened, revolutionized and philosophical ideas of politics.
It presupposes an autocratic ruler, exhorted to refrain from acting inhumanely towards his subjects. An inhumane ruler runs the risk of losing the "Mandate of Heaven", the right to rule. Such a mandateless ruler need not to be obeyed. Mandate of Heaven
It is based upon his ethical thought. He argues that the best government is one that rules through "rites" and people's natural morality, rather than using bribery and force. Rule Through Rites
Rule with Morality “Don't do to others what you would not want yourself"; to rule by moral example instead of by force and violence.
Govern with Mandate Confucius thought that a ruler who had to resort to force had already failed as a ruler. "Your job is to govern, not to kill."
Sense of Shame This "sense of shame" is somewhat an internalization of duty, where the punishment precedes the evil action, instead of following it in the form of laws as in Legalism.
He underlined the need to give due respect to rulers; this demanded that the subject must give advice to his ruler if the superior was considered to be taking the wrong course of action in a given situation. Relationship between a Subject and his Ruler
Confucian concept is that in order to govern others one must first govern oneself. When developed sufficiently, the ruler's personal virtue spreads beneficent influence throughout the state. Personal Virtue
Confucius introduced the Imperial examination system, started in 165 BC when certain candidates for public office were called to the Chinese capital for examination of their moral excellence by the rulers. This system allowed anyone who passed an examination to become a government officer. Confucius Imperial Examination
Confucius praised those rulers who left their states to those apparently most qualified rather than to their elder sons. His achievement was the setting up of a school that produced statesmen with a strong sense of state and duty, known as “ Rújiā.” Meritocracy
Since then Confucianism has been used as a kind of "state religion", with authoritarianism, legitimism, paternalism, and submission to authority used as political tools to rule China. Most rulers used a mix of legalism and Confucianism as their ruling doctrine. State Religion
He did not propose that "might makes right", but that a ruler who had exemplary moral values should be obeyed because of his moral rectitude. In later ages, however, emphasis was placed more on the obligations of the ruled to the ruler, and less on the ruler's obligations to the ruled. Ruling Ethic
Loyalty was also an extension of one's duties to family members and ruler. Loyalty to one's ruler came first, then to one's family. Loyalty was considered one of the greater human virtues. Loyal to Rulers
Importance of Rites Respectfulness, without the Rites, becomes laborious bustle; carefulness, without the Rites, become timidity; boldness, without the Rites, becomes insubordination; straightforwardness, without the Rites, becomes rudeness."
If other powers force a government officer to take the common interest into consideration, corruption and nepotism will arise. As government officer's salary was often far lower than the minimum required to raise a family, Chinese society faced those problems. Corruption and Nepotism
The Confucian view is that political leaders should be the most talented and public-spirited members of the community, and the process of choosing such leaders should be meritocratic, meaning that there should be equal opportunity for the best to rise the top. Equal Rights for All
People’s Luxury Good Governess is that where subjects are in luxury and others would like to be subjected.
At the age of 52, he was appointed magistrate of Chung-tu, and the next year minister of crime of the state of Lu, but until he had no opportunity to put his theories to a public test. Last Years
His administration was successful; reforms were introduced, justice was fairly dispensed, and crime was almost eliminated from the state.
Confucius left his office in 496 BC, traveling about china for 13 years and teaching, vainly hoping that some other prince would allow him to undertake measures of reform. In 484 BC, at the age of 69, he returned for the last time to Lu after a fruitless search for an ideal ruler. Last Visit
Confucius was died at the age of 72 in his home town in the state of Lu in 479 BC. He was buried in a grave in the city of Ch'uFu, Shandong. Today the site of his final resting place is the beautiful K'ung Forest. Death
Yet, when the Confucius died, many people honored all of his work by building temples in every city in China to honor Confucius. Since his teachings and philosophy was so advanced, it was the education for China for 2,000 years. It is called Confucianism.
Soon the Confucius' death, Qufu, his hometown, became a place of devotion and remembrance. It is still a major destination for cultural tourism, and many Chinese people visit his grave and the surrounding temples.
Confucius' philosophical school was first continued by his direct disciples and by his grandson Zisi. Mencius and Xun Zi are his two great followers, one on each "side" of his philosophy, perhaps simply described as optimism and pessimism. They built upon and expanded his ethico-political system.
In China, there are many temples where one can find representations of Buddha, Lao Zi and Confucius together. There are also many temples dedicated to him which have been used for Confucianist ceremonies.