The Life And Teachings Of Confucius

1747 words - 7 pages

Confucius was a Chinese philosopher who lived and taught in a period when the unified Chou kingdom had split into a number of feudal states. The subjects that will be talked about is: The philosopher himself, the Analects and what they represent, and lastly the teachings and what a single interpretation of them could be, and what further questions could be asked for further interpretation. Confucianism is the study of the social philosophy through the secular teachings that Confucius taught, what could we learn through analyzing his teachings today?

Confucius, more properly known as K'ung Ch'iu who was born in 551 B.C., in Tsou, a small town in Lu, which is in Eastern China. His father, Shu-Liang H^e, a former magistrate and warrior of some repute, he married the mother of Confucius, Yen Che^ng Tsai. Growing up in comparative poverty as he did, Confucius had resolved to devote his energy to learning, and justice for all. He was three when his father died, and was raised by his mother, which he felt obliged to work at several jobs to help support his family. He Became married at age 19 to a girl named Chi-Kuan. At the age of 22, Confucius initiated what is considered to the first private school.

Confucius left Lu in 497 B.C. And spent the next thirteen years wandering from regional court to regional court, apparently because of conflicts of the political type. This was the time he gathered disciples and unsuccessfully sought after a Prince who would try to carry out his vision of traditional values. After the thirteen year period he returned to his state of nativity, Lu, where he lived out the rest of his life teaching, and gaining a following. Through the Analects the hope was a society whose members behave with a natural decency toward one another, about age and hierarchy and adapting to their changing roles. Like other Chinese philosophers, Confucius speaks of the “Way.” Each of the ancient Chinese philosophical schools used the term and interpreted the attributes of the “Way” differently.

Changing focus to the Analects, or L'un Yu as they are also called, are considered a record of the words and acts of Confucius and his disciples, as well as their discussions. It is one of the only pieces that can honestly be attributed with Confucius. There is a change that even though done in memory of his teachings, it was more than likely it was not written down until long after his death. The Analect is in the form of Twenty books or chapters, of which most scholars feel that only fifteen or so are authentically Confucian. A text on Confucius says: “Instead of writing a treatise explaining his thoughts, the Confucius of Analects responds to people and situations. The words are never thought of as the last and adequate statement of doctrine but as the circumstantial evidence of deeper wisdom.” (The Norton Anthology of World Literature pg.812) A basic interpretation would be that the Analect could be perceived as a living and constantly...

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