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Chinese Culture >> Chinese Society Traditions

Short Take: Confucius

Confucius (circa 551-479 BC), a wise philosopher, is one of the most famous people in ancient China. He sometimes went by the names Kong Zi though he was born - Kong Qiu - styled Zhong Ni. He was born in the village of Zou in the country of Lu.Bornin551 B.C., in Shangdong Province. Confucius's given name was Qiu and his middle name was Zhongni. His ancestors used to be slave-owners, but the noble family declined financially by his father's generation. Confucius was a low-ranking official for a time when he was young. He was a teacher of 3,000(70 of them became well-known in China) for the most part of his life. The purpose of his teaching was to help his students acquire necessary skill to get into politics. The content of Confucius' private teaching was antagonistic to what was taught by the official schools of the nobles. While touring various states, he often took some of his students with him. However, he never had any opportunity to put his theory of government into practice, thought the rulers of the states received him courteously and consulted him. In his fifties, he became an official in charge of criminal punishment and the maintenance of social order in Lu State. He devoted his time collating and editing literary works.

The following are some of his works: Books of Odes, Book of Changes, Spring and Autumn Annals, Book of Rites, Book of Music, and The Analects. Confucius was a well-known leader in philosophy and he also made many wise phrases and theories about the law, life, and the government. Philosophy is a kind of a system of ideas and thoughts that talk about the human's behavior, the rules that you should follow to make a successful life, and about the government. In other words, it's about thoughts and theories that teach other people lessons about principles, or rules, about life and it also teaches you a moral ( sort of like the morals that are at the end of a fable). Confucius is famous for his philosophy because he made many wise sayings in ancient China that helped many people learn about nature, the world, and the human behavior. He also helped the government and the emperor by teaching them lessons on how the emperor should rule his kingdom successfully.

Soon after Confucius' death, Qufu, his hometown in the state of Lu and now in present-day Shandong Province, became a place of devotion and remembrance. It is still a major destination for cultural tourism, and many Chinese people visit his grave and the surrounding temples. In pan-China cultures, there are many temples where representations of the Buddha, Laozi and
Confucius are found together. There are also many temples dedicated to him, which have been used for Confucianist ceremonies, such as the Temple of Confucius. Because the numerous students of Confucius and the huge influence of the Confucius, lots of Temples of Confucius have been established at home or abroad to commemorate the saint. 

About the Author

I am a sunny Chinese Girl,liaoyan, studying in Guangxi Normal University. I like travel, reading and writing. Get more information about China guide at