Three thousand years after his death, China’s best-known philosopher still affects the lives of millions and his influence is felt from boardrooms to classrooms across the world. When it came into being, Confucian wisdom was a doctrine intended to restore peace and order in a time of war and conflict in China between numerous feudal states. Its founder, Confucius believed he had devised a doctrine of virtue that could bring prosperity back to China. Scroll down 3000 years to the present and you will find ordinary people returning to Confucian ideals in search of the spiritual sustenance they feel is missing in their lives.
So who is Confucius and why does he exert such an influence? Teacher, educationist politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history, Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC) emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. Confucius’ thoughts received official sanction and were further developed into a system known in the West as Confucianism. Aphorisms concerning his teachings were compiled in the Analects many years after his death. Confucius’s principles had a basis in common Chinese tradition and belief, championing strong family loyalty, ancestor veneration, and respect of elders by their children. He also recommended family as a basis for ideal government. His most well known principle known as the Golden Rule, is familiar to most: “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.”
Confucius’s teachings were later turned into an elaborate set of rules and practices by his numerous disciples and followers, who organized his teachings into the Analects. His disciples and his only grandson, Zisi, continued his philosophical school after his death promoting Confucian ideals to students who then became officials in many of the royal courts in China.
Two of Confucius’s most famous later disciples – Mencius and Xun Zi – highlighted different aspects of his teachings. In time, their writings, together with the Analects and other core texts came to constitute the philosophical body of Confucianism.
A spectacular program in cultural outreach, the Confucius Institutes set up in affiliation with Universities in various parts of the world have been tremendously successful. A non-profit public educational organization affiliated with the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, the aim of the Institutes is to promote Chinese language and culture, support local Chinese teaching internationally, and facilitate cultural exchanges. First established in 2004, the institutes also offer a related Confucius Classroom program that partner with local secondary schools or school districts to provide teachers and instructional materials.
©2017 All Rights Reserved, Official Magazine of Dragon City Bahrain