Confucius's principles have commonality with Chinese tradition and belief. The success of Zigong and Ran Qiu must have enhanced his reputation as a person who could prepare young men for political careers. The third source is a long biography of Confucius written in the 1st century BCE. Childhood & Early Life. Although they never found an adequate explanation for Huan Tui’s action, some suggested that the mob of Kuang mistook Confucius for someone else.  Many of the Muslim Confucius descendants are descended from the marriage of Ma Jiaga (馬甲尕), a Muslim woman, and Kong Yanrong (孔彥嶸), 59th generation descendant of Confucius in the year 1480 and are found among the Hui and Dongxiang peoples.  It was unveiled in a ceremony at Qufu on September 24, 2009. Although the facts about the life of Chinese philosopher Confucius are scanty, they do establish a precise time frame and historical context. In time, their writings, together with the Analects and other core texts came to constitute the philosophical corpus of Confucianism.  Bryan Sykes, professor of genetics at Oxford University, understands this decision: "The Confucius family tree has an enormous cultural significance," he said. Katie, he was born in 551 BC, to be exact, on September 28. Confucius said, "I am not one who was born in the possession of knowledge; I … The title was taken away from the southern branch after Kong Zhu rejected the invitation, so the northern branch of the family kept the title of Duke Yansheng. Modern historians view Zhu Xi as having created something rather different and call his way of thinking Neo-Confucianism. Biography – TRANSCEND Media Service . He found employment first with the Jisun clan, a hereditary family whose principal members had for many decades served as chief counselors to the rulers of Lu. Confucius' life as a child was sad. According to his disciple Zigong, his master treated students like doctors treated patients and did not turn anybody away. Zhòngní, the "Zhòng" indicating that he was the second son in his family. Among the reasons why Confucius was such a popular figure can be seen in his works. True or False, What year did Confucius die Confucius was born to a once-aristocratic family in a small state called Lu, in northeastern China in 551 B.C., just before a period of political chaos known as the Warring States Period. A virtuous disposition without knowledge is susceptible to corruption, and virtuous action without sincerity is not true righteousness. The regional rulers, who were relatives of the Zhou king, should have been his strongest supporters, but they preferred to pursue their own ambitions. But Shu-liang He died soon after Confucius’s birth, leaving his young widow to fend for herself. , Confucius was educated at schools for commoners, where he studied and learned the Six Arts. Thus, Confucius was distressed when he was unemployed—anxious about not being of use to the world and about not having material support. In 2006, the China Confucius Foundation commissioned a standard portrait of Confucius based on the Tang dynasty portrait by Wu Daozi. , During the revolt by Gongshan, Zhong You had managed to keep the duke and the three viscounts together at the court. The oldest known portrait of Confucius has been unearthed in the tomb of the Han dynasty ruler Marquis of Haihun (died 59 BC). When he first heard it, he said, “I never imagined that music could be this beautiful,” and “for the next three months he did not notice the taste of meat” (Analects, 7:14). Qiū. And which disciple understood him best and offered him solace? “When your parents are alive, do not travel to distant places, and if you have to travel, you must tell them exactly where you are going” (Analects, 2:6, 4:19). Confucius is the Latinized form of Kong Fu-zi, which means Kong the master. Because of the huge interest in the Confucius family tree, there was a project in China to test the DNA of known family members of the collateral branches in mainland China. Confucianism was part of the Chinese social fabric and way of life; to Confucians, everyday life was the arena of religion. Various translations of the Shiji indicate that his father was elderly, nearly 70, while his mother was only 15, and it is likely that the union was out of wedlock. Confucius was born on September 28, 551 BC. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login).  Qiguan and Confucius would later have two daughters together, one of whom is thought to have died as a child. Xunzi traveled widely abroad and was active in political circles, working with several heads of state and witnessing their horrific deeds and misconduct.  In fact, the disciple Zilu even died defending his ruler in Wey. Confucius was not In the 20th century, this tradition was interrupted for several decades in mainland China, where the official stance of the Communist Party and the State was that Confucius and Confucianism represented reactionary feudalist beliefs which held that the subservience of the people to the aristocracy is a part of the natural order. New questions in History. “Give your parents no cause for worry other than your illness,” he said. In fact, he barely existed in that world, since most of his life was spent either in preparation for such a career or in exile. Confucius began studying under the village tutor and, at the age of fifteen, devoted his life to study. His home was in Lu, a regional state of eastern China in what is now central and southwestern Shandong province. In 1055, Emperor Renzong of Song first bestowed the title of "Duke Yansheng" on Kong Zongyuan of the 46th generation.  When his mother died, Confucius (aged 23) is said to have mourned for three years, as was the tradition. youth?  The Zuozhuan recalls that the governor advised against razing the walls to the ground as he said that it made Cheng vulnerable to the Qi state and cause the destruction of the Meng family. Confucianism is the cornerstone of traditional Chinese culture as well as a complete ideological system created by Confucius, based on the traditional culture of the Xia, Shang and Zhou Dynasties.It has dominated a feudal society that in essence has lasted 2000 years and for that reason its influence over the history, social structure and the people of China cannot be overlooked. The common gentlemen, at this point, still could not displace the aristocrats as the society’s elite. Living in the State of Lu (Qufu City in Shandong Province) during the Spring and Warring Period (770 BC - 476 BC), Confucius was a great educationalist, ideologist and the founder of Confucianism and private schools in China. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. His teachings require examination and context to be understood. Answered by Katie from USA | Dec. 10, 2014 09:05. to 256 B.C.) The book of his teaching is the Confucian Analects –論語 Lún yǚ. Mencius, for his part, wanted to go much further by using his theory of human nature as the basis of an entire moral philosophy. Sources on the life of Confucius are sparse. “If you set an example by correcting your mistakes, who dares not to correct his mistakes?” he asked the counselor Jikangzi. He went as far as to say that a balanced and discerning mind could offer a more precise measure of right and wrong and that the perspicuity of the mind, not the stirring of the heart, should be a person’s moral compass.  Confucius ordered two officers to lead an assault against the rebels. " The DNA testing was originally proposed to add new members, many of whose family record books were lost during 20th-century upheavals, to the Confucian family tree. This was the essential difference between Xunzi and Mencius.  As a likely consequence, it was after this that the first disciples of Confucius were appointed to government positions. He argued for representing truth in language, and honesty was of paramount importance.  22 of them are mentioned in the Analects, while the Mencius records 24. Every year on September the 28th, the birthday of Confucius, city authorities hold the Shidian (Chinese: 釋奠) Ceremony here. He would tell them that no matter what sorts of transgressions they may have committed in the past, they could always recover their potential to do good if they applied themselves. The area was notionally controlled by the kings of Zhou but effectively independent under the local lords of Lu, who ruled from the nearby city of Qufu. In 1351, during the reign of Emperor Toghon Temür of the Yuan dynasty, 53rd-generation descendant Kong Huan (孔浣)'s 2nd son Kong Shao (孔昭) moved from China to Korea during the Goryeo Dynasty, and was received courteously by Princess Noguk (the Mongolian-born wife of the future king Gongmin). In fact, the most violent chapter in the history of the late Warring States Period occurred in Xunzi’s ancestral state of Zhao in the year 260 BCE, when Xunzi happened to be there. Carvings often depict his legendary meeting with Laozi. The philosophy of Confucius, also known as Confucianism, emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice, kindness, and sincerity. One of his sons, Kong Lingjie 孔令傑 married Debra Paget who gave birth to Gregory Kung (孔德基). Confucius's descendants in Quzhou alone number 30,000. Confucius’s father, Shu-liang He, had been a warrior and served as a district steward in Lu, but he was already an old man when Confucius was born. Far from trying to build a systematic or formalist theory, he wanted his disciples to master and internalize older classics, so that their deep thought and thorough study would allow them to relate the moral problems of the present to past political events (as recorded in the Annals) or the past expressions of commoners' feelings and noblemen's reflections (as in the poems of the Book of Odes). In 2011, an excavation of a Han dynasty tomb in the northern outskirts of the city of Nanchang, in Jiangxi province, uncovered a bamboo text of the Analects, a covered mirror with painted images of Confucius and two of his disciples, all identified by their names and short citations from the Analects, and Sima Qian’s biography of Confucius. One of the deepest teachings of Confucius may have been the superiority of personal exemplification over explicit rules of behavior.  Traditional accounts of Confucius's life relate that Kong He's grandfather had migrated the family from Song to Lu. Confucius did not believe in the concept of "democracy", which is itself an Athenian concept unknown in ancient China, but could be interpreted by Confucius's principles recommending against individuals electing their own political leaders to govern them, or that anyone is capable of self-government. Training in the lǐ of past sages cultivates in people virtues that include ethical judgment about when lǐ must be adapted in light of situational contexts. The rest of his childhood was spent in poverty as Confucius was raised by his mother.  At least one of the two officers was a retainer of the Ji family, but they were unable to refuse the orders while in the presence of the duke, viscounts, and court.  Although the Meng and Shu families unsuccessfully besieged Hou, a loyalist official rose up with the people of Hou and forced Hou Fan to flee to the Qi state. "It's not just a scientific question. An education in the Odes, the earliest collection of Chinese poetry, complements an education in the rites. His original name was K'ung Ch'iu. In addition, it has a raised brick platform at the front of the memorial for offerings such as sandalwood incense and fruit. Confucius and his companions went only as far as a border town of Chu before they decided to turn back and retrace their steps, first to Chen and then to Wei. This, however, did not mean that Confucius was free of care. Because his vision of personal and social perfections was framed as a revival of the ordered society of earlier times, Confucius is often considered a great proponent of conservatism, but a closer look at what he proposes often shows that he used (and perhaps twisted) past institutions and rites to push a new political agenda of his own: a revival of a unified royal state, whose rulers would succeed to power on the basis of their moral merits instead of lineage. The best of these speeches reflect the characters of the speakers and the cultural practices that guided their moral decision making. Since most of the texts are incomplete—with missing or damaged strips—it is difficult to establish just how much they add to scholars’ knowledge and idea of Confucius. For example, the properly generous person gives the right amount—not too much and not too little.. He was born in the state of Lu in the middle of the sixth century BCE, a time that the philosopher Karl Jaspers has famously called “The Axial Age,” as it was the time not only of Confucius, but also of Plato, the Buddha, Zoroaster, and the Hebrew prophets. , When it was time to dismantle the city walls of the Meng family, the governor was reluctant to have his city walls torn down and convinced the head of the Meng family not to do so. There are also many temples dedicated to him, which have been used for Confucian ceremonies. , The name "Confucius" is a Latinized form of 孔夫子; Kǒng Fūzǐ (Master Kǒng), and was coined in the late 16th century by the early Jesuit missionaries to China.  However, Confucius relied solely on diplomacy as he had no military authority himself. True or False, What year did Confucius die He was misshapen and deformed. He did not actively recruit them when he was a counselor in Lu. “At 70,” he said, “I followed what my heart desired without overstepping the line” (Analects, 2:4). And, as his disciple Zengzi (505–436 BCE) said, only the strong and resolute are game for the quest, because “the road is long” and “ends only with death.” (Analects, 8:7). A disagreement between these two political philosophies came to a head in 223 BC when the Qin state conquered all of China. According to this account, Qi decided to sabotage Lu's reforms by sending 100 good horses and 80 beautiful dancing girls to the duke of Lu. His critics included the three or four of his disciples who accompanied him on his exile. Confucius was a philosopher, not a god. By his thirties, he'd become a brilliant teacher who shared his knowledge of several subjects, including arithmetic, history, and poetry, with his students. These incidents were not spontaneous but were the machinations of Confucius’s enemies. But unless the child “acts according to the spirit of the rites, in being respectful, he will tire himself out; in being cautious, he will become timid” (Analects, 8:2). A ruler’s success at this later time was measured by the size and number of his conquests, achieved through military operations and political maneuvers. For these reasons, according to many commentators, Confucius's teachings may be considered a Chinese example of humanism.  Earlier, Gongshan had approached Confucius to join him, which Confucius considered as he wanted the opportunity to put his principles into practice but he gave up on the idea in the end. A plan to steer the families toward self-ruin backfired. … Aristocrat-scholars, called shi, traveled from one feudal state to another, offering advice on everything from politics to weddings to war. Confucius was born in 551 BCE. By Confucius’s time, however, such leaders had disappeared. Their first stop was the state of Wei. Thank you … By the mid-6th century BCE the Zhou dynasty was approaching its 500th year. Just as the legendary sage emperor Shun (c. 23rd century BCE) told the director of music to teach the children poetry—to let the poems become their voice—so that “the straightforward shall yet be gentle, the magnanimous shall yet be dignified”—Confucius, too, hoped that the Odes would become his son’s speech, because such utterances are always appropriate and so will “never swerve from the path” (Analects, 2:2). At the courts of these states, he expounded his political beliefs but did not see them implemented. His father Kong He (or Shuliang He) was an elderly commandant of the local Lu garrison. During his return, Confucius sometimes acted as an advisor to several government officials in Lu, including Ji Kangzi, on matters including governance and crime.. Confucius asserts that virtue is a mean between extremes.  The Analects depict him spending his last years teaching 72 or 77 disciples and transmitting the old wisdom via a set of texts called the Five Classics. Xunzi, who followed Mencius by about a century, severely criticized his predecessor. His resignation was the result of a protracted struggle with the hereditary families—which, for generations, had been trying to wrestle power away from the legitimate rulers of Lu. His father died when he was four years old. Mencius was a member of the first group and Xunzi (c. 300–c. The Zuozhuan (“Zuo Commentary”), an early source on the history of this period (see below Classic works), notes that, in the 11th year of the reign of Duke Ai of Lu (484 BCE), a summons from the duke arrived along with a gift of a handsome sum. He championed strong family loyalty, ancestor veneration, and respect of elders by their children and of husbands by their wives, recommending family as a basis for ideal government. Who Is Confucius Chinese children call Confucius 孔子 or 孔 … Accordingly, followers of Confucius either held on to certain aspects of his teachings with a tighter grip or realized the need to adapt what he had said to the political reality of their times. He expressed fears that the masses lacked the intellect to make decisions for themselves, and that, in his view, since not everyone is created equal, not everyone has a right of self-government. Confucius observed in him a resolve to improve his lot and the promise of becoming a fine diplomat or a financial manager. The next 250 years of Chinese history, known as the Warring States Period, was even more fraught with tension and uncertainty than the one Confucius had known. It was a time when China was being sliced into feudal states by the warlord “princes” who raised armies, waged battles, oppressed slave laborers, and heavily taxed subjects. ChinaKnowlwdge.de - Confucius and Confucianism, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Biography of Confucius, Confucius - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Confucius - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Now they were gaining the upper hand, and some were so brazen as to openly compete with their ruler for wealth and women. For him, a love poem from the Odes, called Guanju (“Fishhawk”), best illustrates this point. , Soon thereafter, Gongshan Furao (also known as Gongshan Buniu), a retainer of the Ji family, revolted and took control of the forces at Bi. Later Confucians, who made much of the differences between the two philosophers, pointed to their theories of human nature as the source of their disagreement. He was born on September, 8th, 551 BC. The manuscripts, also written on bamboo strips, were dated to c. 300 BCE or earlier, during the Warring States Period, before China was unified. Zigong had been a merchant before becoming Confucius’s disciple. Confucius' mother died when he was 23, and, per tradition, he mourned for three years. 5 4 Reply. The biography was not altogether elegant or persuasive, but it was the earliest attempt to thread together into a continuous narrative the fragments in the Analects and the stories about Confucius that had been circulating through the works of historians and philosophers in the 300 years since his death. In 2013 a DNA test performed on multiple different families who claimed descent from Confucius found that they shared the same Y chromosome as reported by Fudan University. Little is known of Confucius’ childhood. He is also a traditional deity in Daoism. None of these stories could claim veracity, but, taken together, they humanized the characters involved and filled, if only imaginatively, the gaps in the historical sources.  In 1794, during the reign of King Jeongjo, the clan then changed its name to Gokbu Gong clan (Korean: 곡부 공씨; Hanja: 曲阜 孔氏) in honor of Confucius's birthplace Qufu (Korean: 곡부; Hanja: 曲阜; RR: Gokbu). Confucius tried to answer these questions as best as he could, but his responses could vary depending on the temperament of the interlocutor, leading to confusion among his students when they tried to compare notes (Analects, 11:22). It was the pine and the cypress Confucius admired most, because “they are the last to lose their needles” (Analects, 9:28). His family belonged to the class of shi, between the aristocracy and the common people. When speaking with counselors of the higher rank, he was frank but respectful. Those who learn, and so readily get possession of knowledge, are the next. Another sister, Kong Deqi, died as a young woman. 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