World Civilization 121
September 19, 1996
Professor: Helju Bennett
Section Teacher: Sara Abosch
The Life Of Confucius
Throughout the time span that man has lived on earth, there have been many religions in existence. Two very important and influencing religions that have been around for over two thousand years are Confucianism and Buddhism. The founders of these two religions, Confucius and Buddha, respectively, lived different lives and had different thoughts. Although this made two totally different religions, they both had one common goal. That common goal was to assist the human population and improve their lifestyle.
Confucius was a sage in China and also it's greatest philosopher. He was one of the most prominent figures and is respected throughout all of China. He was born at Tsou, in the state of Lu, known today as the Shandong province, in the year 551 B.C. He was named Ch'iu, meaning hill', because he had a very large bump on his head. This name has rarely been used because of the Chinese way of showing "reverence by avoidance". (Encyclopedia Americana, v. 7; 540) K'ung Futzu was what was used. The name got Latinized and it became Confucius.
Ever since Confucius' birth, he was a great student. All throughout his childhood Confucius liked to play religious and cultural roles. By the age of 15, Confucius began to take his studies very seriously. He was a diligent and studious learner and put forth his whole effort on his studies. Nothing is known about his educators or his education.
Confucius started work at an early age, due to the fact that his father died. By the age of seventeen, Confucius received a job in the public service. Most likely this job was being a keeper of fields and cattle, a town governor, or a court arbiter of ritual. Confucius, because he loved to learn and he loved his studies so much, became a very educated man and in turn was highly respected.
In 529 B.C. Confucius' mother died and observed the standard withdrawal from life of three years. This included the withdrawal from his duties as a public worker. After this long observance, Confucius returned home and opened his house up to students and began teaching. This became his full time job and he took it seriously. At one point, Confucius' teachings were wanted by so many that he had 3,000 students attending his school. 72 of them had mastered the six arts-rituals, music, archery, charioteering, literature, and mathematics. He was a great teacher, well known and respected. He was able to get his disciples responsible positions in the Chinese government and also able to get them jobs as teachers. He knew many and the favors that he asked for were granted by others.
Confucius believed that "knowledge meant wisdom", (Encyclopedia Americana, v. 7; 540). He thought that this in turn would help him become more educated and not only to help himself but to also help the country. He was a reformer and preached for good government. He believed in such idea like " avoidance of needless wars, decrease in taxes, and mitigation of severe punishment". (Encyclopedia Americana, v. 7; 540) He finally received that opportunity in the state of Lu. The state of Lu, where Confucius was born, was in turmoil. There were three major families fighting. Each one fighting against each other just to see who could become more powerful. One of these families, the emperor of Mang He, allowed Confucius to come to his capital. Mang He wanted Confucius to teach his son the teachings and allow him to become a disciple.
This enabled Confucius to learn a great deal about past empires and past emperors. He was able to obtain resources that only officials had access to. It also allowed him to collect materials and information for works that he would produce later on in his life.
Confucius soon returned back to Lu to find more disorganization and more...