Confucius – the Greatest Sage and Teacher in Chinese History6 May, 2012 at 07:48 | Posted in Chinese culture | Leave a comment
Tags: Chinese culture
During the last few hundred years of the Zhou Dynasty 1122 – 222 BC, selfish desires increased along with the development of society. The ancient great virtues and good virtues of emperors in the Xia, Shang, and early Zhou Dynasties were replaced by people seeking personal interests. As a result, the relationships between states were intensely competitive and many wars broke out.
During this period of time great saints appeared in China. Laozi imparted the Dao—the way to return to one’s original, true self. Confucius taught benevolence—the moral norms for human behavior.
Confucius (552 – 479 BC) is known in China as Kongzi. His real name was Kong Qiu. At the age of eighteen Confucius’s mother became a concubine to a 66-year-old officer. When Confucius was three years old, his father passed away. Although he was a very talented person, he was not well known. He visited Laozi, whom he respected very much. He worked for the government at a basic level and was responsible for cattle and granary management.
At the age of 51, he was promoted and became a high level official. He advocated his “benevolence principle” for governing the country, but unfortunately his political philosophy was not adopted by his monarch. As a result, Confucius had no choice but to resign from office. He decided to travel around to spread his thoughts on benevolence.
During this time of volatile politics the nobility did not accept Confucius’s political philosophy. So, he returned to his hometown and dedicated himself to education. He set up private schools, recruited many disciples, and spread his teaching to civil society. Confucius was regarded as the first educator in Chinese history.
The four aspects of his teaching included: righteousness, knowledge and learning, words and behavior, and loyalty and forgiveness. He also established four prohibitions: willfullness, narrow-mindedness, stubbornness, and selfishness. He seldom talked about private interest. If the topic was brought up, he always linked it to fate, benevolence, and virtue. He would enlighten his disciples when they could not handle hardships and difficulties.
Confucius made great contributions to education. He was the first educator to teach the common people. He taught more than 3,000 disciples, regardless of whether they were rich or poor. Those who really wanted to learn were all accepted by Confucius as his disciples and had an equal opportunity to be educated.
He taught his disciples how to be a good person and practiced his own principles. His disciples and future generations were deeply touched by his righteousness, kindness, humility, courtesy, loyalty to the country, and caring for other people.
Confucius’s best known writing is The Analects of Confucius. In China he is remembered as “the greatest sage and teacher,” and his teaching has greatly influenced the Chinese people for several thousand years and counting.