Confucius – the greatest of the ancient Chinese sages

Confucius was a great thinker, politician, educator and founder of the Confucian school in ancient China. Confucius was one of the most erudite scholars in ancient society. His thoughts had a profound impact on China and the world.

Character introduction

Confucius (September 28, 551 BC ~ April 11, 479 BC), born in Shandong Province, was a great thinker, politician, educator and founder of the Confucian school in ancient China.

Confucius initiated the style of private lectures and advocated benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom and faith. There are 3000 disciples, including 72 virtuous ones. He revised the six classics in his later years (poems, books, rites, music, changes, spring and Autumn). After his death, his disciples and his successors recorded the words, deeds and thoughts of Confucius and his disciples and compiled them into the Analects of Confucius. This book is regarded as a Confucian classic.

Main works

Confucius’ remarks are mainly recorded in the Analects of Confucius. The Analects of Confucius is one of the classic works of the Confucian school, compiled by the disciples of Confucius and his successors. It mainly records the words and deeds of Confucius and his disciples in the form of quotations and dialogues, and embodies Confucius’ political propositions, ethical thoughts, moral concepts and educational principles.

After the Southern Song Dynasty, the Analects of Confucius, the University, the golden mean and Mencius were called “four books”. The Analects of Confucius has a total of 20 chapters. The language is concise and concise, and the meaning is profound. Many of its remarks are still regarded as “minor words but great meanings” by the world.

In his later years, Confucius devoted himself to education and revised Shi, Shu, Li, Le, Zhouyi and Chunqiu. Later generations collectively called it the six classics.

According to legend, Confucius also wrote many poems. Most of these poems are recorded in Yuefu Poetry Anthology, but their credibility is not high.

Confucius’ moral theory

Confucius founded the moral theory with benevolence as the core. He was a very kind person, compassionate, helpful, sincere and generous.

Some rules of life :

  1. Don’t impose on others what you yourself don’t desire.
  2. A gentleman is always ready to help others attain their aims.
  3. Require much from oneself and little from others.

Confucius’ theory of benevolence embodies the spirit of humanity. Confucius’ theory of etiquette embodies the spirit of etiquette, that is, order and system in the modern sense. Humanitarianism is the eternal theme of mankind. It is applicable to any society, any era and any government. Order and institutional society are the basic requirements for building a civilized human society. This humanitarianism and order spirit is the essence of ancient Chinese social and political thought.

Confucius’ political theory

The core content of Confucius’ political thought is “propriety” and “benevolence”. In the strategy of governing the country, he advocated “governance with virtue”, and using morality and propriety to govern the country is the most noble way of governing the country. This strategy imparted virtue and ritual to the people, strictly followed the hierarchy, and divided the aristocracy and the common people into the rulers and the ruled. It broke an important boundary between the nobility and the common people.

Confucius’ highest political ideal is to establish a harmonious society where “the world is for the public”.

People not only regard their relatives as relatives, their children as children, but also enable the elderly to live forever, the middle-aged to serve the society, and the young to grow up smoothly, so that the old without a wife, the old without a husband, the children who lost their father in childhood, the old without a child, and the disabled can be supported.

Confucius’ Educational Thought

Confucius first proposed in Chinese history that people’s natural qualities are similar, and the difference in personality is mainly due to the influence of acquired education and social environment. Therefore, everyone can and should be educated. He advocated “teaching without distinction”, set up private schools and recruited more students, broke the monopoly of slave owners and nobles on school education, and expanded the scope of education to civilians, conforming to the trend of social development at that time.

Confucius advocated that if you have enough energy after studying, you should become an official. The purpose of education is to cultivate a gentleman who is engaged in politics, and a gentleman must have a high moral quality, so Confucius emphasized that moral education must be the primary position in school education.

The main contents of Confucius’ moral education are “courtesy” and “benevolence”. Among them, “propriety” is the code of ethics, and “benevolence” is the highest code of ethics. “Courtesy” is the form of “benevolence” and “benevolence” is the content of “courtesy”. Only with the spirit of “benevolence” can “courtesy” be truly enriched. In terms of moral cultivation, he put forward such methods as setting aspirations, self-restraint, practicing, introspection, and courage to correct.

While advocating asking questions and being open-minded and eager to learn, he emphasized the combination of learning and thinking. At the same time, he must apply what he has learned to social practice.

Confucius’ aesthetic thought

The core of Confucius’ aesthetic thought is the unity of beauty and goodness, as well as the unity of form and content. Confucius advocated the combination of literature and art with political morality, and regarded literature and art as a means to change society and politics and an important way to cultivate sentiment. And Confucius believed that a perfect person should cultivate himself in poetry, etiquette and music. Confucius’ aesthetic thought has a great influence on later literary theories.

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