Confucius

Confucius was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history.

"The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity." His followers competed successfully with many other schools during the Hundred Schools of Thought era only to be suppressed in favor of the Legalists during the Qin Dynasty. Following the victory of Han over Chu after the collapse of Qin, Confucius's thoughts received official sanction and were further developed into a system known as Confucianism.

"Confucius is traditionally credited with having authored or edited many of the Chinese classic texts including all of the Five Classics, but modern scholars are cautious of attributing specific assertions to Confucius himself." Aphorisms concerning his teachings were compiled in the Analects, but only many years after his death.

"Confucius's principles had a basis in common Chinese tradition and belief." He championed strong family loyalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders by their children and of husbands by their wives. He also recommended family as a basis for ideal government. He espoused the well-known principle "Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself", an early version of the Golden Rule.

Philosophy

"Although Confucianism is often followed in a religious manner by the Chinese, arguments continue over whether it is a religion." Confucianism discusses elements of the afterlife and views concerning Heaven, but it is relatively unconcerned with some spiritual matters often considered essential to religious thought, such as the nature of souls. However, Confucius is said to have believed in astrology saying: "Heaven sends down its good or evil symbols and wise men act accordingly".


"The Analects of Confucius.In the Analects, Confucius presents himself as a "transmitter who invented nothing"." He puts the greatest emphasis on the importance of study, and it is the Chinese character for study  that opens the text. Far from trying to build a systematic or formalist theory, he wanted his disciples to master and internalize the old 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 nobleman's reflections (as in the poems of the Book of Odes).

The Mandate of Heaven of Confucianism was a key concept underpinning imperial legitimacy. The doctrine is that Heaven chose a particular man and his descendants to be the mediator between Heaven and the region. The man was a god whose actions affected and even determined not only the course of the empire but the natural world as well.

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