Who was Confucius?

“Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you.”

These wise words were said by a Chinese philosopher, Confucius. His philosophy, known as Confucianism, emphasised morality in yourself and the government, correctness of social relationships, justice, and kindness.


Birth of Confucius

Confucius was born on September 28, 551 BC. He was born to a nobleman, Kong He, who died when Confucius was three years old. This untimely death of his father resulted in him being raised in poverty by his mother.
He supported his mother and disabled brother as a herder, an account keeper at a granary, and other odd jobs. He used the proceeds from various government jobs to give his mother a proper burial. His wealthy friend helped him to study at the Royal Archives that is where his worldview formed.

Confucius’s world view

The ancient texts were believed by some as irrelevant relics of the past but Confucius was inspired by them. Studying these texts he believed that the character of a person is formed from their family and by education in literature and history.

Confucius’s role as advisor

A person who is cultivated by their upbringing and education works to help others. Confucius became an advisor to the ruler of his home state. But after the ruler ignored his duties to watch dancers, Confucius resigned in disgust. He spent his next few years looking for a worthy ruler.


Confucius persuaded that a true ruler inspires his people spontaneously through their morals and ethical values without enforcing military power and harsh punishments. During his travels, Confucius starved was imprisoned and his life was threatened several times. Despite all the bitterness in his life, he was a benevolent individual.


When he failed to find a worthy ruler he returned to Lu and became a philosopher and teacher. He was so influential that he shaped the Chinese culture and his teachings are known worldwide.


Today, millions of people follow the principles of Confucianism. It is often followed religiously by the Chinese but many have argued that it is less of a religion and more of secular morality. He believed that heaven had a plan for the world; that you can find joy in learning and music. To understand the meaning of Confucianism, it can be described in a single phrase said by Confucius himself:

“Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you.”

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