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Confucianism is a complex system of moral, social, political, and religious teaching built up by Confucius on the ancient Chinese traditions, and still is the state religion down to the present day. Confucianism aims at making not just a man of virtue, but the man of learning and good manners. The perfect man must combine the qualities of a saint, a scholar, and gentleman. Confucianism is a religion without positive revelation with a minimum of dogmatic teachings.
Confucius was born in 551 BC, in what was then the fudal state of Lu, now included in the modern providence of Shang-tsung. His parents were not wealthy but still belonged to the “superior” class because his father was a warrior. Confucius was still a boy when his father died. From childhood the showed a great aptitude for study. In order to support himself and his mother, he had to labor in his early years as a hired servant for a noble family. His ability and faithful service earned him a promotion to the office of minister of justice. Under his administration the state attained to a degree of prosperity and moral order the people haven’t seen before. After he resigned he was accompanied by faithful disciples and went about from one state to another seeking a ruler who would agree to put his political doctrine into practice.
Throughout the years his confidence to find a ruler never left him. At the age of sixty-eight he finally returned to Lu where he spent his last five years of his life encouraging other to study and practice the virtues.
One morning Confucius felt the approach of death. He walked about the courtyard, humming the words: “The great mountain must collapse, the mighty beam must break and the wise man wither like a plant.” When an alarmed pupil said: “No wise ruler arises, and no one in the Empire wishes to make me his
teacher. The hour of my death has come.” He lay down and eight days later he died (Jaspers 6).
Confucius possessed a noble, commanding personality. It is shown by his recorded traits of character, by his lofty moral teachings, and by the men he trained to continue his life work. They declared him the greatest of men, “the sage without flaw”, and the perfect man. He is described in “Analects”, VII, 18, as one “who in the eager pursuit of knowledge, forgot his food, and in the joy of attaining to it forgot his sorrow (Jaspers 10).” He was a man of affectionate nature, sympathetic, and very considerate towards others. He loved his disciples dearly, and in turn got their undying devotion. He was fond of vocal and instrumental music, and often sang. Confucius said that music is a primary factor in education. He says that the spirit of community is formed by the music it hears. In music he says that the individual finds the themes that order his life. Confucius is often held up as a virtuous man without religion. His teachings were chiefly ethical.
Confucianism is humanism, a philosophy or attitude that is...