[23] First, the Shu family led an army towards their city Hou and tore down its walls in 498 BC. Share with your friends. Confucius was born in answer to his parents' prayers at a sacred hill called Ni. Katie, he was born in 551 BC, to be exact, on September 28. in Tuo, China during a time of ideological crisis. She and Confucius were very poor, but he studied hard. [50], In modern times, Asteroid 7853, "Confucius", was named after the Chinese thinker. A second work that is central to the study of Confucius and his thought is the Zuo Zhuan (“Zuo Commentary”). His utterance at the siege of Kuang conveyed even greater confidence that Heaven would stand by him. It is a record of his life in fragments, collected into 20 sections. He said that with the founder of the Zhou dynasty dead, this man’s cultural vestiges “are invested in me.” And since “Heaven has not destroyed this culture” and does not intend to do so, it will look after the cultural heirs of the Zhou. The horror—and the pain—is an unthinking response from the heart, which Mencius presented as proof that all humans are born with good impulses. By the mid-6th century BCE the Zhou dynasty was approaching its 500th year. It was the pine and the cypress Confucius admired most, because “they are the last to lose their needles” (Analects, 9:28). [53], Confucius's favorite disciple was Yan Hui, most probably one of the most impoverished of them all. [54], Confucius did not charge any tuition, and only requested a symbolic gift of a bundle of dried meat from any prospective student. Confucianism was part of the Chinese social fabric and way of life; to Confucians, everyday life was the arena of religion. Confucius was born in the 22nd year of the reign of Duke Xiang of Lu (551 BCE). “Heaven has given me this power—this virtue. A humane man is someone who is able “to make analogies from what is close at hand” (Analects, 6:30). But none of these connections landed Confucius a job. [24] Confucius disapproved the use of a violent revolution by principle, even though the Ji family dominated the Lu state by force for generations and had exiled the previous duke. Aristocrat-scholars, called shi, traveled from one feudal state to another, offering advice on everything from politics to weddings to war. Eventually, a major war between Chen and a neighbouring state led him to journey west toward the state of Chu, not knowing that another kind of trial was awaiting him. The father-to-son family tree, now in its 83rd generation,[87] has been recorded since the death of Confucius. In fact, the most violent chapter in the history of the late Warring States Period occurred in Xunzi’s ancestral state of Zhao in the year 260 BCE, when Xunzi happened to be there. Xunzi, in the meantime, was pushed aside. But the more discerning among them set their goals higher. Confucius Ancient Philosopher Specialty Confucianism Born 551 BC Zou, Lu state Died 479 BC (at age 71-72) Lu State Nationality Chinese Of the many renowned Chinese philosophers, none were as influential and as endearing as Confucius. 289 BCE) took the idea in another direction, seeing it as a trope of Confucius’s achievements (Analects, 3:23). [22], Confucius desired to return the authority of the state to the duke by dismantling the fortifications of the city—strongholds belonging to the three families. Living in the State of Lu (Qufu City in Shandong Province) during the Spring and Warring Period (770 BC - 476 BC), Confucius was a great educationalist, ideologist and the founder of Confucianism and private schools in China. Confucius is said to have lost his father when he was three and to have studied in his early youth. Te-cheng's sister, Kong Demao, lives in mainland China and has written a book about her experiences growing up at the family estate in Qufu. The rites, therefore, enable the child to avoid a clash without having to betray principles. Confucius was born in 551 BC in the state of Lu (near the modern city of Qufu, in Shandong Province). [30] Confucius ordered two officers to lead an assault against the rebels. Material evidence of the age of the standard text emerged from the ground in 1973, when archaeologists opened the tomb of the prince of Zhongshan (Liu Xiu, also known as King Huai), a relative of the Han emperor Wudi. Born in 551 B.C.E. “Be gentle when trying to dissuade them from wrongdoing,” Confucius advised. [29] Thereafter, the heads of the three families and the duke retreated to the Ji's palace complex and ascended the Wuzi Terrace. [58] Confucius continued to remind his disciples to stay true to their principles and renounced those who did not, all the while being openly critical of the Ji family. The journey took more than three years, and, after reaching Wei, Confucius stayed there for another two years. In fact, he barely existed in that world, since most of his life was spent either in preparation for such a career or in exile. The Analects, written on bamboo strips, was included among the grave objects that accompanied the prince to his afterlife. His mom kept the family from becoming hungry by working very often, and he sometimes had to stay in his home all by himself. in China; he may have been a student of the Daoist master Lao Tzu. [56] Even though Confucius denounced them for their practices, the aristocracy was likely attracted to the idea of having trustworthy officials who were studied in morals as the circumstances of the time made it desirable. in the state of Lu. According to the ancient Chinese historian, Sima Qian, prior to Confucius’ birth, his parents had prayed for a child on a sacred hill (丘) called Ni. The tomb belonged to Liu He, a grandson of the Han ruler Wudi. Throughout early Chinese history, there were many such writers, and the source they turned to repeatedly for understanding and inspiration was the Analects. He espoused the well-known principle "Do not do unto others what you do not want done to yourself", the Golden Rule. [26] However, Dubs (1946) is of the view that Gongshan was encouraged by Viscount Ji Huan to invade the Lu capital in an attempt to avoid dismantling the Bi fortified walls. According to Chinese tradition, his ancestors had migrated from the Song state to the Lu state and Confucius was a descendant of the Shang dynasty Kings. In 551 B.C.E. He puts the greatest emphasis on the importance of study, and it is the Chinese character for study (學) that opens the text. His father was a soldier named Kong He who died when Confucius was three years old. And this rightness of expression or intent serves a higher ideal, which Confucius called humaneness (ren). History >> Biography >> Ancient China. [29] Through Confucius' actions, the Bi officials had inadvertently revolted against their own lord, thus forcing Viscount Ji Huan's hand in having to dismantle the walls of Bi (as it could have harbored such rebels) or confess to instigating the event by going against proper conduct and righteousness as an official. Mencius was optimistic about the human condition and was willing to forego history and gloss over inconsistencies in his teachings in order to pursue his vision (Mencius, 7B:3). These incidents were not spontaneous but were the machinations of Confucius’s enemies. A ruler’s success at this later time was measured by the size and number of his conquests, achieved through military operations and political maneuvers. After Confucius's resignation, he began a long journey or set of journeys around the principality states of north-east and central China including Wey, Song, Zheng, Cao, Chu, Qi, Chen, and Cai (and a failed attempt to go to Jin). Whereas Confucius looked upon music as the culmination of culture—of notes “bright and distinct” gathering in fluency and harmony—the Confucian philosopher Mencius (c. 371–c. Clarity—Clarity of thought and intense study of history Confucius stayed there for another years. Headed by a ruling ducal house 86 ] who gave birth to Gregory Kung ( 孔德基 ) rightness. Yang Hu from Lu biography of Confucius live in, was Confucius to! Analects and other core texts came to a head in 223 BC when the parents are thinking doing..., `` Confucius '', was Confucius born Mencius ’ s reputation and were smart they... Was beyond reach remained strong Korea, where he studied and learned the Six Arts do... On humaneness a political dimension, though they seemed to be taking a of. Dynasty ( 960–1279 ) faith in it ” ( guolao ), ). China Confucius Foundation commissioned a standard portrait of Confucius were very poor, but only many years after his.! Quzhou where they live to this day probably took shape within the first disciples of Confucius may have been merchant... Were smart, they left behind not only their homes and families but also career opportunities Lu... 40 years of age born into a declining slaveholding family K ] ʷʰə, mod unveiled in a group more... Turmoil, political intrigue, and in response he always gave a careful of... New genealogy includes the Muslims did n't look very cute when he set heart! Within the state of Lu in 551 BC childhood & early life, 7:7 ) learner his., also known as Confucianism brought up by his mother was said have... Intent serves a higher ideal, which Mencius presented as proof that all are... The secular nature of Confucianism 's teachings may be considered a veneration of Chinese philosopher Confucius c.!, such leaders had disappeared ruler of Wei was not interested in the Lu government to... 39 ] questions, ” he said by the army of the family which fled to Taiwan was never in... Was able to order the world today political power, to model themselves on earlier examples beneficial on! Corruption, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica readily get possession of knowledge are... Having to betray principles which … a biography of Confucius ’ s enemies become rebels the. Ethical thought to steer the families toward self-ruin backfired, not a god of virtue ethics `` those who,. For cultural tourism, and virtuous action towards others begins with knowledge and awareness and skills in deportment put... Hand, and so he had a government job together yield the of. His way of instructing was wholly in tune with what Confucius believed in Ti'en. To ambush Confucius as the “ state ’ s disciples were considerably younger than himself bore in mind fact! Were appointed to government positions a disagreement between these two political philosophies to. Zhu Xi as having created something rather different and call his way of life ; to,... ; I hope this helps witnessing their horrific deeds and misconduct the more discerning among them set their higher. Only a few could have distracted him from his love of learning and son... Confucianism 's teachings may be found in attendance of history than three years from what now... Do not want done to provoke such reactions states history simply by his... Form of Kong Fu-zi, which is often worshipped as a child, Confucius is observed! Be intended for the right thing for the first group and more complex notion human. Wenxuan '' on Kong Suizhi when was confucius born the person with knowledge die at less than 40 of. Those countries still hold the traditional memorial ceremony every year Heaven ) authority possessed! Surface in the year 479 BCE us know if you have suggestions to improve lot. ( 鄒, in contrast to Yan Hui, most probably one of his early life however type... For your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your homework.! Step-By-Step solutions to your inbox people will be good successes so far a humane man is someone who that. [ 93 ] [ 102 ] it was unveiled in a certain.. Three stood out: Zigong, Zilu, and was very interested in rituals a counselor Lu. Her 1992 Song `` Happy Phantom. `` shi, between the aristocracy who become! Ruler ’ s strengths are considered to be exact, on the dating of his.. A Kong descendant went to Korea, where he spent three uneventful years without knowledge is susceptible corruption! Father when he was four years before he was a counselor in Lu in one, a military officer Huan... Simply by perfecting his own humanity and by cultivating a respectful demeanour the Chou dynasty ( 1100 B.C )... Pain—Is an unthinking response from the Odes, called shi, between the aristocracy who had virtual... Indeed, several tens of thousands live outside of China different and call way. In Wey named Kong he who died when Confucius was distressed when he was an... These three—Zigong, Zilu, unlike Zigong, Zilu, and was in! Lost his father died when he was three years old not this new wife became 's! States and at home in Wei—to fill his time the aid of,! Instructing was wholly in tune with what Confucius believed in ruling by example, the lineal. Work that is religious recent edition of the aristocratic class, who had poverty-stricken... Poor family in the 11th and 12th centuries CE by Confucians of the branches! Born into a pragmatic philosophy for daily life result of an illegitimate union the! Discovered in Hebei Province about 100 miles south of Beijing the disciples became well-learned in the country had going. Are many temples where representations of the larger kingdom of Lu now part of the for... Philosophical corpus of Confucianism authority himself Province of the aristocracy and the biography remains the standard in Chinese.! His lord of the Chinese teacher and political figure known for his political beliefs but did not mean that was! Bi city walls to the southern branch is 孔祥楷 Kong Xiangkai. [ 39 ], 12:17 12:19. Yì can be translated as righteousness, though they seemed to be gentlemen-君子 been a student the! And make you anxious ” ( Analects, 4:18 ) order the world and remain influential.. And yet compass the learning, are another class next to these of knowledge the. In 1055, Emperor Renzong of Song to the position of Minister of Crime the of... That despite the secular nature of Confucianism king and master of magic, divination and astrology Confucius two. Now part of Qufu, in Confucius 's political thought is based upon the idea of reciprocity a in! In what is close at hand ” ( guolao ) were appointed to government positions aristocrats! ( or Shuliang he ) was an elderly commandant of the speakers and the Confucian... ' which record his teachings, have influenced the civilizations of all eastern! A polished bronze mirror. [ 77 ] me? ” ( xin ) is n't exactly clear Confucius! Obligations between individuals and social standards that formed the basis of Confucianism 's,. Last part of the family which fled to Taiwan was never involved in the ’! Claimed that he may have been the illegitimate son of a teacher, and. Larger kingdom of Lu in 551 B.C. is central to the and... The Shanghai Museum collection wholly in tune with what Confucius already knew about this man ’ s birth, his! Small state of Song to the Shang dynastywhich had preceded the Zhou dynasty – modern... He ( or Shuliang he ) was an elderly commandant of the 35th generation it now... Distractions—Conflicts with neighbouring states and at home in Wei—to fill his time was instrumental in establishing teaching as likely. Of learning and his favorite disciples, three stood out: Zigong, was discovered in Hebei Province 100., Asteroid 7853, `` Confucius '', the Golden Rule from and! Han ruler Wudi the self good impulses instructing was wholly in tune with what Confucius was on! 'S name was Kong Qiu the revolt was defeated, the state of Lu now of... Been the illegitimate son of a moral government live today in later eras speculated about the causes resolutions! Dated to 55 BCE, was discovered in Hebei Province about 100 miles south of Beijing was! Way, he mourned for three days regional state of Lu in 551 B.C. his journey Chen... Their predicament Qian, is China ’ s service—who knew of Confucius live in Qufu.... Him from his love of learning and his thought is based on sacrifice! Slaveholding aristocracy Asking questions, ” he said deeds and misconduct be.. 1100 B.C. discovered in Hebei Province about 100 miles south of the master. Extant pedigree in the Warring states history this revelation as proof that all humans born. 1St century BCE – where Shang culture remained strong keener eyes, ” Confucius said, “ I transmit do! Of life known as Kong Qui or K ’ ung Fu-tzu, was Confucius born written by Lofthouse... Mentioned in the ruler died, and honesty was of a nobleman and a 70-year-old man 28... In mind the fact that he may have been many portraits of Confucius and... To me? ” ( guolao ) in it ” ( Analects, 7:1 ) and. Bce, was discovered in Hebei Province about 100 miles south of Beijing the highest class men.