Confucius is one of the most influential religious thinkers, philosopher, and political figure in Chinese history. He was well known for his aphorism and models of social interaction. His works and teachings on respect, honesty, education, kindness and strong family bonds gave rise to Confucianism. Today, Confucianism is the official imperial philosophy of China. Besides this, there is more to this philosopher than meets the eye. Thus, this article will attempt to trace the origin of Confucius and his contributions to humanity and philosophy at large.
There are varying accounts regarding Confucius early life. However, most reports state that Confucius was born in 551 B.C. in Qufu, Shandong Province, China. Touted as an eminent officer in Lu military, his father died when he was only three years old, leaving him under the sole care of his poor mother Yan Zhengzai who later died at the age of 40. Historical accounts show that Confucius was educated at schools for commoners. There he learned and mastered six Arts (rites, music, archery, chariot racing, calligraphy, and mathematics).
There is not much information regarding Confucius adult life. However, history has it that Confucius studied under the tutelage of Lao Dan and Daoist Master. These two men undoubtedly had a significant influence on him. As an adult, Confucius held tightly to make-believe temple rituals he was taught while growing up. This quickly earned him a reputation as someone who is fair in his dealings, polite in all his ways and above all an ardent lover of knowledge.
Confucius later married at the age of 19, fathering three children. During his lifetime, Confucius worked as a shopkeeper, superintendent of parks as well as a teacher. Notwithstanding, the zenith of his influence were recorded during his teaching career. As a teacher, Confucius mentored young children, teaching them the principles of right conduct and good governance. Because of his dedication to teachings and quest for knowledge, his fame spread throughout China. Regrettably, Confucius died on November 21, 479 B.C. in Qufu, China, a year after losing his son Tzu-lu in battle.
Confucius and his followers held many beliefs that are today the basis for religious and moral life in China. Confucius believed that good governance was the foundation for a peaceful society. Also, Confucius believed that the keys to a stable society are strong family values and relationship. As a member of the upper class, Confucius believed education and knowledge belonged to anyone who had the desire to learn.
Confucius is considered the most inspiring philosopher in Asia. His teachings on virtues and morals are today the hallmarks of Chinese beliefs. Here is a summary of his other contributions:
- Education: Confucius contributed a lot to education. Legend has it that Confucius opened a school in his home, where he thought indigent students who lived with him. Confucius insisted on hard work, honesty, and teaching by example.
- Politics: This is another important area where Confucius influence cannot be disregarded. According to him, a good and responsible government is the basis for a peaceful society
- Religion: Most people in China consider Confucius a highly revered religious figure. His religious beliefs and teachings gave birth to Confucianism.
In a Nut Shell
The teachings and works of Confucius have undoubtedly influenced millions of people worldwide. His teaching on morals, politics, and family values have made him a revered figure among most Chinese. And his beliefs have today given rise to Confucianism, which is currently Chinese most popular religion.
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