Revelation In Space: Bible Data:

Xúe ér bù sī zé wǎng, sī ér bù xúe zé daì [Chinese] - Learning without thinking is useless, thinking without learning is dangerous

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance. - Kong Qui

The Shiji, or historical records, of Sima Qian say that Confucius was born on Mount Ni, and was raised in the city of Qufu in the modern-day province Shandong (formerly Zou of the state of Lu c. 1042-249 BCE). He was born in the twenty-second year of Duke Xiang of Lu (551 BCE) in answer to his mother's prayer. As with most historical figures, either literal or allegedly so, some details will often differ through embellishment of legend over time. For example, Confucius was given the name of Qiu (Wade-Giles translation Chiu) at birth, which means hill. He was born on a hill, Mount Ni. Legend has it that his mother abandoned him at birth because he had a deformed head, a convolution that supposedly looked like a hill. He was supposedly raised by a tiger and an eagle until they convinced his mother to accept him. What sort of possible distiction would occur in the search for literal truth in such a legend would depend upon the reader.

His real name was given as Zhongni (Chungni) and his surname as Kong (Kung). His father would die a short time after his birth but his mother was able to see that he was given a good education. At the age of fifteen he had devoted himself to scholarly pursuits with an interest in history, music and poetry and at seventeen he was given a minor governmental post in his native state of Lu.

He married at nineteen and had a son a year later, but in his mid-twenties his mother died and this had a devastating effect on him. He mourned at her graveside for 27 months. He left his family and became a public teacher, wandering throughout the country in an ox cart and gathering as many as 3,000 students. The subjects, usually inspired by events observed on the road, included civics, ethics, literature, music, and science. The strength in his teachings, and their lasting influence, was of an historical nature which is somewhat of a contrast to others who offered something more along the lines of opinion in their teaching.

Though history was a prominent subject in his teaching he placed the primary value of his work on ethics and morals. It was his true purpose to try and incorporate these through governmental and social order. He and some of his most trusted disciples traveled from Lu to other states in order to accomplish this.

The Shiji doesn't give a favorable report of his progress of the next fourteen years, it says: "Finally he left Lu, was abandoned in Chi, was driven out of Song and Wei, suffered want between Chen and Tsai." He returned to Lu to work on his Four Books and Five Classics:

The Books:
1. The Great Learning, a program of education for young gentlemen;
2. The Doctrine of the Mean, a dissertation on the development of human nature through moderation;
3. The Analects, main source of Confucian thought.
4. The Book of Mencius, writings and expressions of Confucius' most prominent disciple, Meng-Tzu, or Mencius.

The Classics:
1. The Book of Poetry, 305 poems on daily life in early Chou times (1000 - 600 BCE);
2. The Book of History, seventeen centuries of Chinese history from the Chang dynasty (1766 - 1122 BCE);
3. The Book of Changes, divination involving 64 possible combinations of six lines;
4. The Book of Rites, a collection of rules on ritual and ceremonies;
5. Annals of Spring and Autumn, a history of the state of Lu from 721 - 478 BCE

Confucius died at the age of 73 in the year 479 BCE.

The term Confucianism doesn't exist in Chinese. The closest thing to it is ru and various applications related to it; 儒家 Rújiā – school of thought; 儒教 Rújiào – religious doctrine; 儒学, 儒學 Rúxué – studies; 孔教 Kǒngjiào – religious doctrine. (See References: Confucianism) Like Taoism, Confucianism was a product of the hundred schools of thought which developed in response to the warring states period (fifth to the third centuries BCE). A hundred flowers, or schools of thought developed in response to the oppression caused by constant fighting among the feudal states in ancient China. Taoism and Confucianism were two of the surviving schools.

The teachings of Confucianism may have been a response to Buddhism and Taoism, reflecting the superstitious and mystical elements which had formulated from those. Neo-Confucianism is a more rationalistic and secular variation which developed later.

Though many consider Confucianism to be more philosophical than religious, the fact is that to Confucius there was a reverence for a supreme cosmic spiritual power, of Tian (Heaven) as the source of all virtue and morality which directed all things. He also was a meticulous observer of ceremonial rites in the worship of Heaven and ancestral spirits.

In Confucianism the concept of li, which is the propriety, courtesy and order of things including ritual, reverence and ceremony, is foremost important. Proper worship, conduct and social and familial relationships, even on a spiritual level, is gained through knowledge and cultivated through the self. The family, nation and world benefits from the ancestral spirit of the King to the common man. The hierarchical; father, mother, child (brother, sister), et cetera.

The effects of this can be seen throughout Oriental (Eastern) culture, and this is reflected in the popularity of Confucianism. It seems to have had a positive unifying effect on the feudal states of China after the Emperor Wu of Han made Confucianism the state religion.

Only those well versed in the Confucian classics served in government positions. Temples were erected in every province throughout the empire, bringing loyalty to the Royal throne until dynastic rule in China ended in 1911. More recently Confucianism has been criticized for having the opposite effect, even being labeled as feudalistic itself. As promoting the repression of people, especially in application to women.

Confucius (Kǒng Fūzǐ (孔夫子; Kong Qui) traveled the country in an ox cart observing and teaching his numerous disciples on the subjects of civics, ethics, literature, music and science. Of course, he claimed no divine inspiration and so naturally the writings attributed to him, recorded by his disciples, also make no such claim.

Image Credit