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Who Was Confucius


Confucius (551?-479? BCE), according to Chinese tradition, was a thinker, political figure, educator, and founder of the Ru School of Chinese thought. His teachings, preserved in the Lunyu or Analects, form the foundation of much of subsequent Chinese speculation on the education and comportment of the ideal man, how such an individual should live his life and interact with others, and the forms of society and government in which he should participate. Fung Yu-lan, one of the great 20th century authorities on the history of Chinese thought, compares Confucius' influence in Chinese history with that of Socrates in the West. (follow this article on http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/confucius/).

Confucius is also a character in the Lieh-tzu and Chuang-tzu (the homonymous works) that illustrate the Taoist doctrine which is in fact opposite of the Confucian one. In this respect, here is what Ssu-ma Ch'ien - the historian of the Chinese antiquity - wrote about Confucians and Taoists:

    Those who attach themselves to the doctrine of Lao-Tze condemn that of the Literati (aka Confucians), and the Literati on their part condemn Lao-Tze, verifying the saying, "Parties whose principles are different can not take counsel together." (From Historical records)

A dialogue between Confucius and one of his disciples about meditation, written by Chuang-tzu in a Taoist environment, shows us the obvious differences between Confucianism and Taoism.

Finally, the historical meeting of Confucius and Lao-tzu is the occasion of confrontation of the two sages and their views on the rites. This subject matter is treated in our Lao-tzu and Tao-te ching Revealed email course.

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Confucius Quotes:
The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.

Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.

In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.

If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself.

He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.

Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.

Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?

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