Topics: Confucius, Analects, Confucianism Pages: 5 (1590 words) Published: April 26, 2005

Master Kung, also known as Kung Fu-tzu is known to be the Confucius of the west. He is one of the most well known philosophers in Chinese history. Confucianism has evolved so much over the years that no one knows the original thoughts of the master. Master Kung established a tradition of cultural values. Confucius wanted to attain a position in government so he could influence the ruler, thus helping him make wiser decisions. He was appointed to a governmental position in Lu but it was brief. So he traveled the neighboring states hoping to attain another position, and he did but he often spoke his mind when he shouldn't have and was forced to leave again. When he returned home he realized that through his teaching he would be able to affect the people more. Confucius taught that all human affairs were structured by five relationships: father and son, husband and wife, elder and younger brother, ruler and official, and friend and friend. He had a major emphasis on the family because three of these relationships focus on the family. Confucius was more of a summarizer and rephraser of truths than an original thinker. He focused on the relation of human being to human being and the relation of governor to governed.

Confucius Life

Confucius is described, by Sima Qian and other sources, as having endured a poverty-stricken and humiliating youth and been forced, upon reaching manhood, to undertake such petty jobs as accounting and caring for livestock. Confucius surname Kong (which means literally an utterance of thankfulness when prayers have been answered), his tabooed given name Qiu, and his social name Zhongni, all appear connected to the miraculous circumstances of his birth. We do not know how Confucius himself was educated, but tradition has it that he studied ritual with the Daoist Master Lao Dan, music with Chang Hong, and the lute with Music-master Xiang. At the age of fifty, when Duke Ding of Lu was on the throne, Confucius' talents were recognized and he was appointed Minister of Public Works and then Minister of Crime. But Confucius apparently offended members of the Lu nobility who were with Duke Ding for power and he was subsequently forced to leave office and go into exile. In any case, by most traditional accounts, Confucius returned to Lu in 484 BCE and spent the remainder of his life teaching, putting in order the Book of Songs, the Book of Documents. Book X of the Analects consists of personal observations of how Confucius thought himself as a thinker, teacher, and official. It has been regarded as providing an intimate portrait of Confucius and has been read as a biographical sketch. By the 4th century BCE, Confucius was recognized as a unique figure, a sage who was ignored but should have been recognized and become a king.

Confucius Social Philosophy

While Confucius believes that people live their lives within parameters firmly established by Heaven—which, often, for him means both a purposeful Supreme Being as well as ‘nature' and its fixed cycles and patterns—he argues that men are responsible for their actions and especially for their treatment of others. We can do little or nothing to alter our fated span of existence but we determine what we accomplish and what we are remembered for. Confucius represented his teachings as lessons transmitted from antiquity. He claimed that he was "a transmitter and not a maker" and that all he did reflected his "reliance on and love for the ancients." Certainly his claim that there were antique precedents for his ideology had a tremendous influence on subsequent thinkers many of whom imitated these gestures. But we should not regard the contents of the Analects as consisting of old ideas. Much of what Confucius taught appears to have been original to him and to have represented a radical departure from the ideas and practices of his day. Confucius also claimed that he enjoyed a special and privileged...
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