Life Of Confucius
The life of Confucius, the Chinese philosopher and teacher, has many elements that make it an amazing story. From his humble beginnings in ancient Lu to his success as a teacher to his death and beyond, this is Confucius’ life story.
Childhood Life Of Confucius
Confucius was born in 551 B.C. His father died when he was three and his mother raised him on her own. When he was young, Confucius took up several jobs to help support his family. He worked as a cow herder and as a clerk in the marketplace.
Confucius’ mother raised him alone until he reached the age of 16, when she remarried and had another son.
Confucius’ mother may have been from the Ji family, which later became closely associated with the teachings of Confucius; at least one source claims that he was descended from the Shang dynasty through the Dukes of Song.
Middle Age Life Of Confucius
When he was 19, he married a woman that was chosen by his mother. When his son turned 15, Confucius left home in search of knowledge, leaving his son and family behind.
Confucius’ middle age is a time of hard work. In his middle age, Confucius left his hometown Qufu for the first time and took his disciples to Lu State, where he was an official of the state government.
Lu State is a small country in the eastern part of China. He once served as an official in the local government, but because he did not compromise with the ruling class, he was framed and forced to resign from office.
While in Lu State, Confucius had many experiences, some were good and some were bad. For example, when he went to Chenchen to invite Master Zeng to be his guest teacher, the people of Chenchen refused to let him enter the city and even chased him away with sticks and stones.
When Confucius returned disappointedly, Duke Ding of Lu State asked Confucius why he was so sad that Confucius told him what happened in Chenchen. After listening to it, Duke Ding was very angry and immediately sent an army to attack Chenchen. However, after a fierce battle, Chenchen’s army won!
Confucius was always strict with himself when he was young. If he did something wrong, he would beat himself thirty times.
Educational Life Of Confucius
After returning to Lu, Confucius started his teaching career.
At first he taught in the village school for children, but not long after he started teaching adults. For example, Yan Hui was only a boy when he first came to study with Confucius.
Confucius himself studied diligently and broadened his knowledge. He studied the classic book of I Ching (Book of Changes), the book that was used to tell fortunes by divination, and many other classics, such as Classic of Poetry, the History of Spring and Autumn Periods and The Rituals of Zhou Dynasty.
He also studied how to play the lute and sing ancient odes.
Confucius studied these books because he wanted to learn how to be an ideal gentleman or scholar-gentleman according to the traditional standards set out in these old texts.
Achievements Of Confucius
Confucius was never given the opportunity to implement his ideas during his life. So, he decided to travel around China to get an audience with the rulers of the various Chinese states.
He visited many states over the years, but none of them took to his ideas and plans. Most of them did not even want to listen to him.
He was determined not give up, so he gathered more disciples in each place he visited and made sure that he taught them very well in preparation for a time when they would be given an opportunity to implement what they had learned from him. Sadly, Confucius died without having been given an opportunity to implement his ideas during his lifetime.
After his death, the philosophy that he had taught lived on through his disciples who managed to gain powerful positions and influence rulers across China. Eventually, these rulers accepted and implemented what the disciples had learned from their master, Confucius.
Interesting Facts About Confucius
Confucius is considered to be one of the most influential thinkers in history and his ideas were the basis of a new way of thinking called Confucianism.
Here are some interesting facts about him:
Confucius was his title, not his name. In Chinese, he would be called Kong Qiu. People started to call him Kung Fu Tzu in Chinese, which means Master Kung or Master Kong.
This became K’ung Fu-Tzu in Wade-Giles romanization (which is how the Chinese names are written), which later became Confucius in Latin and English.
Confucius never wrote down any of his thoughts or ideas during his lifetime. It wasn’t until after he died that some of his students compiled a book called The Analects (Lunyu) in which they wrote down many of the things he said.
Confucius taught more than 3,000 students but only 72 of them passed the final exams and graduated.
In Confucianism women were considered inferior to men and could not take part in religious rituals or receive an education.
Death Of Confucius
The death of Confucius was evidently a great shock to his disciples. They immediately set about collecting the sayings which he had uttered from time to time and committed them to writing.
This collection formed the nucleus of the Lun Yu or Analects which have since been regarded as the most sacred book after the Shu Ching (The Book of History) and the Shih Ching (The Book of Poetry), and have exerted an influence hardly second to that of the Bible itself upon the thoughts and actions of mankind.
Confucius died in 479 B.C. at the age of 73. He was buried in the city of Qufu, which is in China’s Shandong Province. To this day, his tomb is a popular destination for visitors from around the world.