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Confucius

Birthdate: 551 BC
Date of death: 479 BC

Confucius was a Chinese philosopher and politician of the Spring and Autumn period.

The philosophy of Confucius, also known as Confucianism, emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice, kindness, and sincerity. His followers competed successfully with many other schools during the Hundred Schools of Thought era only to be suppressed in favor of the Legalists during the Qin dynasty. Following the victory of Han over Chu after the collapse of Qin, Confucius's thoughts received official sanction in the new government and were further developed into a system known in the West as Neo-Confucianism, and later New Confucianism .

Confucius is traditionally credited with having authored or edited many of the Chinese classic texts including all of the Five Classics, but modern scholars are cautious of attributing specific assertions to Confucius himself. Aphorisms concerning his teachings were compiled in the Analects, but only many years after his death.

Confucius's principles have commonality with Chinese tradition and belief. He championed strong family loyalty, ancestor veneration, and respect of elders by their children and of husbands by their wives, recommending family as a basis for ideal government. He espoused the well-known principle "Do not do unto others what you do not want done to yourself", the Golden Rule. He is also a traditional deity in Daoism.

Confucius is widely considered as one of the most important and influential individuals in shaping human history. His teaching and philosophy greatly impacted people around the world and remains influential today. Wikipedia

Works

Analects
Confucius

„Listen widely to remove your doubts and be careful when speaking about the rest and your mistakes will be few.“

—  Confucius

The Analects, Chapter I, Chapter II
Original: (zh_Hant) 多聞闕疑,慎言其餘,則寡尤。多見闕殆,慎行其餘,則寡悔。言寡無,行寡悔,祿在其中矣。
Context: Listen widely to remove your doubts and be careful when speaking about the rest and your mistakes will be few. See much and get rid of what is dangerous and be careful in acting on the rest and your causes for regret will be few. Speaking without fault, acting without causing regret: 'upgrading' consists in this.

„It is the way of the superior man to prefer the concealment of his virtue, while it daily becomes more illustrious, and it is the way of the mean man to seek notoriety, while he daily goes more and more to ruin.“

—  Confucius

The Analects, The Doctrine of the Mean
Context: It is the way of the superior man to prefer the concealment of his virtue, while it daily becomes more illustrious, and it is the way of the mean man to seek notoriety, while he daily goes more and more to ruin. It is characteristic of the superior man, appearing insipid, yet never to produce satiety; while showing a simple negligence, yet to have his accomplishments recognized; while seemingly plain, yet to be discriminating. He knows how what is distant lies in what is near. He knows where the wind proceeds from. He knows how what is minute becomes manifested. Such a one, we may be sure, will enter into virtue.

„The superior man does what is proper to the station in which he is; he does not desire to go beyond this. In a position of wealth and honor, he does what is proper to a position of wealth and honor. In a poor and low position, he does what is proper to a poor and low position.“

—  Confucius

The Analects, The Doctrine of the Mean
Context: The superior man does what is proper to the station in which he is; he does not desire to go beyond this. In a position of wealth and honor, he does what is proper to a position of wealth and honor. In a poor and low position, he does what is proper to a poor and low position. Situated among barbarous tribes, he does what is proper to a situation among barbarous tribes. In a position of sorrow and difficulty, he does what is proper to a position of sorrow and difficulty. The superior man can find himself in no situation in which he is not himself. In a high situation, he does not treat with contempt his inferiors. In a low situation, he does not court the favor of his superiors. He rectifies himself, and seeks for nothing from others, so that he has no dissatisfactions. He does not murmur against Heaven, nor grumble against men. Thus it is that the superior man is quiet and calm, waiting for the appointments of Heaven, while the mean man walks in dangerous paths, looking for lucky occurrences.

„In a high situation, he does not treat with contempt his inferiors. In a low situation, he does not court the favor of his superiors.“

—  Confucius

The Analects, The Doctrine of the Mean
Context: The superior man does what is proper to the station in which he is; he does not desire to go beyond this. In a position of wealth and honor, he does what is proper to a position of wealth and honor. In a poor and low position, he does what is proper to a poor and low position. Situated among barbarous tribes, he does what is proper to a situation among barbarous tribes. In a position of sorrow and difficulty, he does what is proper to a position of sorrow and difficulty. The superior man can find himself in no situation in which he is not himself. In a high situation, he does not treat with contempt his inferiors. In a low situation, he does not court the favor of his superiors. He rectifies himself, and seeks for nothing from others, so that he has no dissatisfactions. He does not murmur against Heaven, nor grumble against men. Thus it is that the superior man is quiet and calm, waiting for the appointments of Heaven, while the mean man walks in dangerous paths, looking for lucky occurrences.

„Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue.“

—  Confucius

Original: (zh_Hant) 巧言令色、鮮矣仁。
Variant: Someone who is a clever speaker and maintains a 'too-smiley' face is seldom considered a humane person.
Source: The Analects, Chapter I

„Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.“

—  Confucius

Attributed on the internet but not found in print prior to an attribution in Aero Digest, Vols. 58–59, 1949, p. 115 https://books.google.com/books?id=q2ofAQAAMAAJ&dq=%22Life+is+simple%22+but+we+insist+on+making+it+complicated&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=%22Life+is+simple%22+
Misattributed, Not Chinese

„Don't do unto others what you don't want done unto you.“

—  Confucius

Original: (zh_Hant) 己所不欲,勿施於人
Variant: What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.
Source: The Analects, Other chapters, Chapter XVː23

„Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.“

—  Confucius

Source: The Book of Rites

„From the Son of Heaven down to the mass of the people, all must consider the cultivation of the person the root of everything besides.“

—  Confucius

The Analects, The Great Learning
Context: The ancients who wished to illustrate illustrious virtue throughout the Kingdom, first ordered well their own states. Wishing to order well their states, they first regulated their families. Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons. Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts. Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts. Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge. Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things.
Things being investigated, knowledge became complete. Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere. Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts were then rectified. Their hearts being rectified, their persons were cultivated. Their persons being cultivated, their families were regulated. Their families being regulated, their states were rightly governed. Their states being rightly governed, the whole kingdom was made tranquil and happy.
From the Son of Heaven down to the mass of the people, all must consider the cultivation of the person the root of everything besides.

„Isn't it a pleasure to study and practice what you have learned?“

—  Confucius

The opening of the Analects and thus the first phrase of Chapter I after which the Chinese title of this book is named 學而.
The Analects, Chapter I
Original: (zh_Hant) 學而時習之、不亦說乎。有朋自遠方來、不亦樂乎。人不知而不慍、不亦君子乎。
Context: Isn't it a pleasure to study and practice what you have learned? Isn't it also great when friends visit from distant places? If one remains not annoyed when he is not understood by people around him, isn't he a sage?

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