What shall we learn from Confucius?

 Confucius (551–479 BC) 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 in traditional interpretations) of husbands by their wives. He also recommended family as a basis for ideal government. He espoused the well-known principle “己所不欲,勿施于人 (Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself)”, an early version of the Golden Rule. In the following, we would like to pick some classical words on some aspects.

About study:


The Master said, To learn and at due times to repeat what one has learnt, is that not after all a pleasure?


The Master said, Even when walking in a party of no more than three I can always be certain of learning from those I am with.


Confucius said, He can be a teacher who finds what is new in reviewing what is old.


Confucius said,“You, shall I teach you what it is to know? You know something if you know it, and you do not know something if you do not. That is what to know means.”

As a great educator in ancient China, Confucius made a profound and lasting influence on education even in today. His held an opinion that “There should be education for everyone without distinction.” And most of his students made a difference.

About friends:


That friends should come to one from afar, is this not after all delightful?


I will not be afflicted at men’s not knowing me; I will be afflicted that I do not know men.


The superior man on grounds of culture meets with his friends, and by their friendship helps his virtue.

Confucius sticks to keeping a pure and forever friendship. Friends shall help each other but stay independent. Sharing common interests is the basic requirement of being friends.

About manner:


With what then will you recompense kindness? Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness.


Keep what you say and carry out what you do.


Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety.


Confucius said,“It is cowardice not to dare to defend righteousness when it is endangered.”


Confucius said,“The gentleman considers it a shame to talk more than he does.”

You may see whether a person is a gentleman from his manner. Confucius is quite strict to his own behavior while be tolerant to others. This is indeed a wise man.

About time & life:


Confucius said, “It passes on just like this, not ceasing day or night!”


The Master said, “At fifteen I set my heart upon learning. At thirty, I had planted my feet firm upon the ground. At forty, I no longer suffered from perplexities.

At fifty, I knew what were the biddings of Heaven. At sixty, I heard them with docile ear.

At seventy, I could follow the dictates of my own heart; for what I desired no longer overstepped the boundaries of right.”

Time is the permanent topic from the ancient to modern life. People want to grasp more time, while they are doing some meaningless things. Understanding what time is to life makes people living a more meaningful today and tomorrow!


Words translated by CCJK


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