Confucius: Life and Philosophy
In history no philosopher has ever affected more individual lives than Confucius did. For around 2000 years Confucianism was “…the most important single force in Chinese life…”. His beliefs were formed when he was a young man. Dismayed by the state China was in. He wanted people with power to adopt better morals and compassion. He thought that for peace to be reached, people needed to find li (courtesy) in there lives. Meaning that society could only reach the "ideal" if everyone was moral and responsible. Confucius never saw what his ideas did for China; dying many centuries before they were recognized. Confucius's life was to him unfulfilling but the influence he had on the world would rival most religious figures.
Confucius was born in Chou, Lu (which is now the Shandong Province). His father (Shu-Liang Ho) died when he was 3 and his mother (Yan Zhengzai) died when he was 23. Confucius was born a basted and received much distained from others. He was not allowed to get an education because he was considered a peasant; however he had a deep interest in spirituality and Chinese traditions. He found a way to educate himself though; by working for a nobleman he gained access to Chinese writings and art. He became well respected for his fairness and his knowledge of Chinese traditions. He was happy to teach any one who wanted to be taught and quickly people were lining up to see him. Duke Chao admired him so much that he game him a job as an advisor. When Chao was exiled from Lu Confucius followed him to Ch'i. In Ch'i he earned the same respect that he had in Lu but the Duke of the state wouldn't put Confucius's doctrines into practice even though he believed in them. In 511 B.C. Chao died in exile and Confucius returned to Lu where he gave up on government and started a private school. People came from far and wide to be taught by Confucius. “Confucius was changing China one student at a time”.
“To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our heart right.” To “set our heart right” according to Confucius we needed to posses five qualities. These are integrity, righteousness, loyalty, altruism and jen (to respect all living things). Confucius also believed in a code of conduct. The code says that: we should only have or experience things in moderation. We should do what is expected of us to the best of our abilities. We should know place in a relationship. We should be respectful to our elders. Confucius believed that only if each individual person did these things would we be able to reach the "ideal" society. Confucianism didn't become widely known across China until the Han Dynasty; under emperor Wu. When it finally was recognised it took off in China, it became China's main ideology. Confucianism is still respected that there are temples that have Budda Confucius all together.
Confucius was born a mere peasant who learned to teach. His teachings were not fully appreciated in his lifetime and often he was viewed with suspicion as was government fearful of his influence. However for over 20 centuries people have embraced his ideas and philosophy. This includes his code of conduct that instructs us to work harder and think of others instead of just ourselves. All though his life his aim was to make a better world.