Confucius and Confucianism: Unavoidable Eastern Philosophy (IM 913)

Confucius (551 – 479 BC ) was born in State of Lu in current day Shandong in the East of China during the period of constant warfare and unrest period in the history of China. He was a Chinese philosopher and politician of the Spring and Autumn period who was traditionally considered the paragon of Chinese sages.

Inspired by the statesmanship of Zhougong, Confucius harboured a lifelong dream to be in a position to emulate the duke by putting into practice the political ideas that he had learned from the ancient sages and worthies.

Confucianism, the way of life propagated by Confucius, may be understood as an all-encompassing way of thinking and living that entails ancestor reverence and a profound human-centred religiousness. The key terms involved in Confucianism are: a. Gentlemen (junzi) b. Benevolence ( ren), c. Filial Piety ( xiao), d. Ritual Observance (Li).

When asked to sum up his teachings in one sentence, he used to reply with his Golden rule : “What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.”

In Analects, he wrote about his persona; descriptions as:

At 15 I set my heart on learning; at 30 I firmly took my stand; at 40 I had no delusions; at 50 I knew the mandate of heaven; at 60 my ear was attuned; at 70 I followed my heart’s desire without overstepping the boundaries. (2:4)

Furthermore he wrote:

It is these things that cause me concern: failure to cultivate virtue, failure to go deeply into what I have learned, inability to move up to what I have heard to be right, and inability to reform myself when I have defects. (7:3)

Quotes:

Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

Respect yourself and others will respect you

Death and life have their determined appointments; riches and honors depend upon heaven.

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.

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