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The name Confucius is a Latinized version of the transliteration K'ung-fu-tzu. A thinker of unmatched influence in Eastern civilization, Confucius was a teacher and minor government official whose philosophy has been preserved in the Lun-yu The Analectsa collection of sayings attributed to him and his disciples.
The Analects contains remarks on a wide variety of subjects, including government, personal conduct, warfare, and family, and has been subject to diverse, even diametrically conflicting interpretations. For over two thousand years, Confucianism has endured as the foundation of Chinese philosophy.
Biographical Information It is generally believed that Confucius was born in the state of Lu during the Chou dynasty and was orphaned at an early age. Some of Confucius's ancestors had been aristocrats in the state of Sung, but the family had immigrated to Lu to escape political unrest and intrigue.
As a descendent of ancient nobility, Confucius occupied a middle position in Chinese society—between the impoverished peasantry and the ruling aristocracy. By the age of fifteen he had decided to become a scholar and worked to educate himself in music, literature, and ancient history. He began teaching in his early twenties and also served for a time as manager of Lu's state granary and supervisor of public fields.
He also studied ancient governments under a scholar known as the master of Tan. Making use of an informal, discursive teaching style, Confucius became extremely popular with his students, many of whom became important government officials.
Confucius left Lu on a sometimes perilous fourteen-year journey during which he taught and spread his ideas on society and government throughout China.
Confucius's son died the year he returned to Lu, and two years later his student Yan Hui died. Reportedly inconsolable over the death of his beloved student, Confucius died less than three years later.
Major Works The objective of Confucianism, the body of thought and writings inspired by Confucius, is the elucidation and encouragement of three main principles: Jen, Tao, and Li. In his teachings, which have been recorded in such works as The Analects, Li Chi Book of Ritesand I Ching Book of ChangesConfucius encouraged his students to think for themselves; he also endeavored to define concepts in an abstract manner so that they could be universalized and applied to all cultures.
Confucius's principles therefore are never succinctly defined and have engendered a multitude of interpretations, resulting in diverse readings of his works.
Although scholars acknowledge problems with The Analects as the direct transcription of Confucius's utterances, it is nonetheless regarded as the best possible summation of his philosophy.
The Analects are composed of twenty books, each made up of aphorisms, questions, and notes attributed to Confucius and twenty of his disciples, most notably Master Tseng, who is credited with twelve sayings of his own; Jan Ch'iu, who went on to become a lieutenant in the powerful Chi Family; and Tzu-kung, who went on to become a prominent diplomat.
Alternately translated as "humanity," "good," "love," and "reciprocity," Jen, according to Arthur Waley, is "a sublime moral attitude, transcendental perfection attained to by legendary heroes … but not by any living or historical person. Thomas Cleary argues that "humanity is to love people" and contends that "Confucius believed the moral foundation of social order must rest on the primary virtue of … humanity.
Confucius's innovation, according to H.
Creel, was to recast the word as "the way … that individuals, states, and the world should conduct themselves and be conducted. Schwartz defines Li as "all those 'objective' prescriptions of behavior, whether involving rite, ceremony, manners, or general deportment, that bind human beings and the spirits together in networks of interacting roles within the family, within human society, and with the numinous realm beyond.
Confucius's teachings, however, stress the opposite, as one of the philosopher's central tenets is that a state should be designed to serve the people. According to Thomas Cleary, Confucius "envisioned a social order guided by reasonable, humane, and just sensibilities, not by the passions of individuals arbitrarily empowered by hereditary status, and warned of the social consequences if men in positions of power considered personal profit and advantage over public humanity and justice.
Confucius believed in the regeneration of public and private conscience through education and the influence of unifying cultural ideals.
Active during the fourth century B. In the collection of his teachings, the Mencius, he furthered the concept of Jen, arguing that the potential for exemplifying such an honorable trait exists in every human being.
In direct contrast, the teachings of Hsun-tzu, the prominent Confucian thinker of the third century B. For Hsun-tzu, Li functions to suppress selfish instincts.
Subsequent philosophers of the ancient world incorporated mystical schemes, numerology, and aspects of Taoism into traditional Confucian thought. Although the resulting philosophy was in many ways a diluted and contradictory imitation of Confucianism, it was during this period that the movement gained wide acceptance, becoming the official state religion of China in the second century B.
Wang Ch'ung, a logician of the first century A. Most of the first millennium A. Neo-Confucianism arose in the eleventh century largely owing to the scholarship of Chu Hsi, whose historical writings focused on what are now known as the Classical Confucian texts—thirteen works of ancient origin that deal with a wide range of topics pertaining to Confucianism.Since Confucius’ teachings and philosophy was so advanced, it was the education for China for 2, years.
It is called Confucianism which is the complex system of moral, social, political, and religious teaching built up by .
The Life And Work Of Confucius Philosophy Essay Confucius ( – BCE), was a thinker, political figure, educator and founder of the Ru School of Chinese thought.
Confucius was born at Shang-ping, in the country of Lu. The following entry contains criticism on Confucius's Analects. For additional information on Confucius's life and works, see CMLC, Vol.
Widely acknowledged by scholars as a work of the utmost. The Life And Work Of Confucius Philosophy Essay Confucius ( – BCE), was a thinker, political figure, educator and founder of the Ru School of Chinese thought.
Confucius was born at Shang-ping, in the country of Lu. Confucius, the Historical Philosopher - Throughout history, there have been historical figures that have changed the way we think in the world. These people are called philosophers. Philosophers are people who view the world in a different way with theories and questions in ethics and logic.
Watch video · Confucius’ Beliefs, Philosophy and Teachings During the sixth century B.C., competing Chinese states undermined the authority of the Chou Empire, .