As is known that, China is one of the most centuries-old countries in the world, especially, an exceptional country whose traditional culture has never been interrupted so far. And as the core of Chinese traditional culture, Confucianism plays an important role to what China means to the history of the world. Thus, it is no wonder that Confucius has become the remarkable cultural celebrity in the earth, and his thoughts are shared as the cultural heritage by the whole human beings.
The thoughts of Confucius are broad and profound. In his ethical philosophy, the main points are those as follows: benevolence, filial piety, rite, justice and faithfulness. When it comes to his political ideal, it is of course that his ideal of the society of great harmony is indispensable. And in his thoughts, he emphasizes a lot on the point that principle teaching students in accordance with their aptitude equally and he valued “morality” and “wisdom” in his educational thoughts. All the essences of his thoughts are still profound and practical meaning by now.
Epitomize academic career ever since
In 484 BC, Confucius went back to Lu nation and was respected as “the old of the country”. Although he was almost 70 years old, he still cared much about state affairs and worked industrious on teaching the students and editing the old literatures. In a word, he was “too absorbed to eat, too elated to worry and fail to aware the pending oldness.”
Travel to many of the feudal states
When Confucius was 55, he started to travel around some of the Many Nations. By lobbying the vassals, he attempted to implement his political measures and search for the opportunity to running the country. He had been to 7 of those nations during the next 14 years. However Confucius went through various ups and downs in the process, he still could not realize his political ambition. At last, when he was 68 years old, he went back to Lu nation.
Being as an officer
Facing with the reality that people violating the rite and music and the vassals contending for hegemony prevailed the society, Confucius took the responsibility of assisting the public as his own task, trying his best to reorganize the society order. During the 4 years he was in the post, his political achievements were well-established, which led to the great prosperity of Lu nation.
Model for posterity
Confucius is the founder of the Confucianism which has been worshiped as the orthodox ideology by all the dynasties in Chinese history since Han dynasty. In the history of China, Confucius has been given a lot of honor which he did not expect when he was alive. One of them is utmost, that is his subsequent posthumous title is ”the greatest royalty teacher”. And he is worshiped as the model for posterity in the temples all over China. Moreover, his fame and status benefits his predecessor, students and even some other following Confucian scholars who made some contribution to interpreting and developing his thoughts. After all, the history of social ideology in China is signified with respecting and worshiping for Confucius.
The theory of heaven and destiny
In the Spring and Autumn time, people tended to consider the heaven as the universal lord which in control of the fate of the human. Meanwhile, they also insisted the ghost and the deity may also bring people happiness or misfortune. In sharp contrast, Confucius weighs the people more over than the heaven. His option on the heaven is naturalism that in the situation when the fate says no he insists to fight with the fate and when dealing the ghost problem it is wise to respect but keep a certain distance from the ghost and the deity in his opinion.
Although the worldview of Confucius was not systemized, his standpoint is clear that he always admits the objective existence and objective law. All that thoughts reflect the crude materialist dialectic view.
The ideology of Confucius can be summarized as the doctrine of the mean which says holding both ends but adopting moderate. Thus, when dealing with the world it is wise to follow the doctrine and treat everything as harmony but not the same. That kind of ideology was shaped in the process of his history analysis and practical observation with combined logical thinking and image thinking together. That is, he took the way of analyzing the basic cause of the object’s development in every aspect of the process and then integrating all these together to draw the conclusion. Chairman Mao considers the method as a great discovery and a great contribution.
The relationship between being and thinking is the fundamental question of philosophy. In another word, the original of cognition is the foundation. In the opinion of Confucius, he never admits the possibility of anyone’s being born as known, including himself. On the other hand, he insists acquiring knowledge by the way of unceasing study.
In the Spring and Autumn time, the society was full of turbulence and fluctuation that the ministers who were in power arrogated, the people revolted, the nations merged and the minorities invaded into each other. To reorganize the social order and clear up all the chaos, Confucius put forward his political ideal, political proposition and the cultivation of the politician.
Confucius depends the privileges of the clans, but he is also in consideration of the welfare of the people. Meanwhile, he wants to change the terrible reality. But he opposes to that kind of violent revolution as the King Zhouwu did. What he wants is that the ruling class could restrain themselves and rule by virtue and benevolence.
The cultivation of the politician
To implement the policy that rule by virtue and benevolence which leads to the society with great harmony, it is necessary to place great importance on the specific people who run the country. In the opinion of Confucius, a politician should be a versatile person who can cultivate himself or herself by virtue, behave with dignity, and hold to his principle. When dealing with the state affair, a politician should be diligent and honest and can select the wise person to administrate the country.
Confucius values the effectiveness that moral poses on the social life. And the utmost aim of his systemized ethical theory outlined by the concept ”benevolence” is to build a society with organized order and great harmony.
Comparing with the modern philosophy, the philosophy system of Confucius which be signified by the concept “benevolence” seems cruder. However, when compared with the thoughts of his contemporary civilian, his system reveals his glorying brilliance.
The concept loyalty refers to that kind of attitude treating people honestly, responsibly and trying one’s best to be helpful when he or she is needed. Of course the people which are mentioned above include the monarch. It is very necessary to point out here that the loyalty Confucius promoted is varying a lot from the loyalty saying that to show the loyalty, the monarch should be in control of everything, even the life of the minister. On the other hand, the loyalty here which be advocated by Confucius is that the monarch treats the minister with rite whereas the minister treats the monarch with loyalty. It is mutual. So, there is quite a long distance between those two kinds of loyalty.
Because the Slavery Society is organized by the blood, filial piety is either the ethical moral or the political moral. As the society turns into the Feudalist society, to some extent, filial is rather an ethical society. As it has mentioned on the loyalty, the filial piety Confucius argues is more different from the stereotype of filial which say the parents are in control of the children. Confucius insists that the real filial piety is not only to obey and respect the parents but to admonish the parents when they were to make mistakes. There is also a long distance between those two kinds of filial piety.
The concept faith means honesty and no deception. And the principle is fit not only for the making of friends but also for the running of a country. In Confucius’s opinion, a dignity person should be faithful and should not eat one’s own word. What is to be pointed out is the faith here is right when it is in coincidence with the morality and justice.
Justice is reasonable. The concept used to represent rationality before Confucius interpreting it into the moral principle to follow in everyday life. Confucius deemed that people should follow the principle firmly and be ready for the righteous behavior any time. But Confucius does not consider the opposition between the justice and the benefits incompatible. He always asks people to pursue the benefit which in coincidence with justice and not to forget justice when it comes to benefits.
The concept forgiveness refers to that kind of sentiment that taking consideration of others with empathy. When the people establish themselves in the society and dealing with the people in the world, in the mind of Confucius, it is proper to follow the principle below: firstly, do not impose something you think terrible on the others; and secondly, make others can achieve the goal you want to reach.
The doctrine Confucius advocated that to rule the country by rite and modesty, which can be summarize as the five concepts, that is, gentle, goodness, obedience, thrift and modesty. That doctrine is to require the people to consider the other people themselves in dealing with the duty or the obligation.
The conception “obedience” is composed of two aspects: on the one hand, the concept refers to the solemnity of the individual’s behavior; on the other hand, it asks that a person treat others with modesty and obedience which is one of the “five moral sentiment” promoted with all efforts by Confucius.
The conception also consists of two aspects. That is, firstly, people should be serious and conscious with their industry and career; secondly, people should treat people sincerely. The first aspect concerning the career attitude may be the earliest occupational morality theory in our country. The principle “respect” requiring respect for the parents, the super-ordinate and friends is a must to a certain extent.
To realize his political ambition and cultivate some qualified people in politics who have both wisdom and moral, Confucius started his career on the education. He initiated the private school and taught the students tirelessly thus led to his enrichment in the teaching experience. In the educational theory, which is systemized, he argues to teach the students without distinction and creates scientific teaching method and paradigm.
Confucius proposes the theory ruling by virtue and benevolence, so the aim that start the private school is to cultivate the talented people who can promote the benevolence thought and run the country by virtue. The specific way is that by cultivating some great ministers who can treat the monarch with loyalty whereas treat the people with benevolence can the well-off society be built and finally can the ideal of the public society with great harmony be realized.
Confucius is to cultivate talented people who can enforce the benevolence and moral ruling, thus, he emphasis heavily on both the inner character and practical administration ability. Meanwhile, he values moral cultivation more on the premise that ensuring the comprehensive cultivation including morality, wisdom, physics, music and aesthetics.
Confucius created a various lot of flexible teaching methods and modes, for example he taught the students in accordance with their aptitude, and he also put forward the saying that the teacher and the students should accelerate each other in the educational process, the teacher should have passion and the proper method to arouse the interest of the students and can only inspire the students when they have think hardly and have some clues but still can not tell. And as for the students, he thinks that the student should use one against three and study with analogy.
During the whole life of Confucius, he pursued the knowledge so vigorously that he sometimes forgot to eat. And he did not learn from a constant teacher, seeking knowledge nimbly and curiously. In that way, he summarized some study methods such as asking about everything reviewing the old knowledge to learn the new, combining thinking and studying together, using one against three and being not shamed to learn from the humble people. All these above are the study methods of Confucius.
Along with the wide-spreading diffusion of Confucianism on the earth, there is lots of countries leadership and friends coming to Confucian hometown--- visiting Qvfu, opening scholarship conference and culture communication, further the Confucianism’s influence on the whole world.
Overland communication between China and the west has begun from Han dynasty, but unlike other countries in Asia, the history of the west to formally contact and seriously study Confucianism was just hundred years ago. And the first are Portugal and Italy. They knew Confucianism, which played important parts in the development of Enlightenment and Bourgeois revolution. Not withstanding, Confucianism could not find a voice in the English countries, who turned their eyes away firstly but had to explore it later as the result of Colonial expansion. Nowadays, the west makes an effort to dig it in order to find a seat in the international Confucianism study.
Southeast Asia and Oceania
At the end of Ming Dynasty, lots of Chinese moved to other countries, and Southeast Asia becomes the chief destination for those who emigrated overseas to make a living. At the advent of these immigrants, Confucianism spread among the Southeast Asian areas, such as Malaya, Indonesia, Philippines and so on. Except that, Oceania countries like Australia, New Zealand are also the areas impressed by Confucianism along with the coming of Chinese emigrants. Particularly in Singapore, due to over half of the population were Chinese and government’s recognition, Confucianism acts as an important role in Singapore society.
Began at the end of three centuries B.C., Confucianism has been known for a long time in Vietnam, tremendously affecting the development of Vietnam Culture, and become one of the sources of Vietnam traditional culture, being an indispensable part of it.
On the beginning of the book <The Analects > offered by Wang Ren who came from Silla, Confucianism extends its charming travel in Japan, making an enormous influence on Japanese morals and educational perception as long as 1700 years.
The diffuse of Confucianism in Korean peninsula has lasted for two thousand years that have a great impact on the development of Korean Peoples.
Today we are stepping into an era so-called globalization and information, and peace, civilization, prosperity and advancement are the hope of whole humankind. What Confucius advocated---culturing the ideal personality, constructing the ideal social model---attract our attention. Moreover, his distinct wisdom wins respect from the whole world. Confucius, his name with the greatest wisdom, enlightens the universe and last forever!