Saturday, March 9, 2019

C is for Confucius (Blogging Through the Alphabet)

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Like many individuals in history who have become influential, not much is known about Confucius. The teacher, writer, and statesman from the prosperous state of Lu (present day Shangdong province) lived sometime between c. 550 BC and 480 BC in Ancient China. The information that we do know about Confucius (also known as Kong Qui and K'ung Fu-tzu) was written down by his students and later generations. The main source of his teachings and sayings is The Analects. While he was a member of the professional administrative class, he only held minor positions and eventually settled into the position of a teacher in his home state of Lu.

At the Center 

The teachings of Confucius set forth models for interactions between family and the public as well as educational standards. At the center of his teachings was the subject of human relationships. He believed that society is a network of human relationships. 

There are five archetypal relationships which include:
  1. Relationship between ruler and subject
  2. Relationship between father and son
  3. Relationship between husband and wife
  4. Relationship between elder brother and younger brother
  5. Relationship between friend and friend 
People should fulfill their role in their various relationships by doing the right thing. Individuals should treat others with respect, live virtuous lives based on traditional customs, and follow rituals (which varied from very simple to elaborate). 

Influence on the State 

Confucius taught about the proper role of leaders. Self-discipline was an important characteristic of leaders, which would help them fulfill the relationship between ruler and subject. Rulers should remain humble and be a positive role model for their subjects. If everyone in society fulfilled their roles, then society would function smoothly. 

The ideas of Confucius would eventually be known as Confucianism and they still hold an important part in many cultures today. 

More Blogging Through the Alphabet Posts 

Looking for more posts about China and its history? Why not read about the Boxer Rebellion or the Zhou Dynasty?

References and Resources's Article on Confucius

Looking for more Blogging Through the Alphabet Posts? 


  1. I did not know about his other names. Always nice to learn a new bit of history.

    1. Yeah...I read them in a few places. I was unaware that he had more traditional Chinese names than the one I was familiar with.

  2. His teachings sound very much like Jesus.

    Do you know why there is so little known about him? It seems strange to give him credit if so little is known about him. Or maybe I misunderstood what you wrote. If so, sorry about that. I have been having that problem lately. :)

    1. Yeah, not sure why there is so little known. Maybe it is along the same lines as the way that Socrates is famous because his students wrote down his teachings. It is interesting how much he emphasized treating others with respect.