A Short Introduction to Confucius - John Lord - ebook
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About one hundred years after the great religious movement in India under Buddha, a man was born in China who inaugurated a somewhat similar movement there, and who impressed his character and principles on three hundred millions of people. It cannot be said that he was the founder of a new religion, since he aimed only to revive what was ancient. To quote his own words, he was "a transmitter, and not a maker." But he was, nevertheless, a very extraordinary character; and if greatness is to be measured by results, I know of no heathen teacher whose work has been so permanent. In genius, in creative power, he was inferior to many; but in influence he has had no equal among the sages of the world."Confucius" is a Latin name given him by Jesuit missionaries in China; his real name was K'ung-foo-tseu. He was born about 550 B.C., in the province of Loo, and was the contemporary of Belshazzar, of Cyrus, of Croesus, and of Pisistratus. It is claimed that Confucius was a descendant of one of the early emperors of China, of the Chow dynasty, 1121 B.C.; but he was simply of an upper-class family of the State of Loo, one of the provinces of the empire,--his father and grandfather having been prime ministers to the reigning princes or dukes of Loo, which State resembled a feudal province of France in the Middle Ages, acknowledging only a nominal fealty to the Emperor...

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A SHORT INTRODUCTION TO CONFUCIUS

John Lord

ENDYMION PRESS

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Copyright © 2016 by John Lord

Published by Endymion Press

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ISBN: 9781531296582

TABLE OF CONTENTS

SAGE AND MORALIST.

SAGE AND MORALIST.

~

550-478 B.C.

About one hundred years after the great religious movement in India under Buddha, a man was born in China who inaugurated a somewhat similar movement there, and who impressed his character and principles on three hundred millions of people. It cannot be said that he was the founder of a new religion, since he aimed only to revive what was ancient. To quote his own words, he was “a transmitter, and not a maker.” But he was, nevertheless, a very extraordinary character; and if greatness is to be measured by results, I know of no heathen teacher whose work has been so permanent. In genius, in creative power, he was inferior to many; but in influence he has had no equal among the sages of the world.

“Confucius” is a Latin name given him by Jesuit missionaries in China; his real name was K’ung-foo-tseu. He was born about 550 B.C., in the province of Loo, and was the contemporary of Belshazzar, of Cyrus, of Croesus, and of Pisistratus. It is claimed that Confucius was a descendant of one of the early emperors of China, of the Chow dynasty, 1121 B.C.; but he was simply of an upper-class family of the State of Loo, one of the provinces of the empire,—his father and grandfather having been prime ministers to the reigning princes or dukes of Loo, which State resembled a feudal province of France in the Middle Ages, acknowledging only a nominal fealty to the Emperor.

We know but little of the early condition of China. The earliest record of events which can be called history takes us back to about 2350 B.C., when Yaou was emperor,—an intelligent and benignant prince, uniting under his sway the different States of China, which had even then reached a considerable civilization, for the legendary or mythical history of the country dates back about five thousand years. Yaou’s son Shun was an equally remarkable man, wise and accomplished, who lived only to advance the happiness of his subjects. At that period the religion of China was probably monotheistic. The supreme being was called Shang-te, to whom sacrifices were made, a deity who exercised a superintending care of the universe; but corruptions rapidly crept in, and a worship of the powers of Nature and of the spirits of departed ancestors, who were supposed to guard the welfare of their descendants, became the prevailing religion. During the reigns of these good emperors the standard of morality was high throughout the empire.

But morals declined,—the old story in all the States of the ancient world. In addition to the decline in morals, there were political discords and endless wars between the petty princes of the empire.

To remedy the political and moral evils of his time was the great desire and endeavor of Confucius. The most marked feature in the religion of the Chinese, before his time, was the worship of ancestors, and this worship he did not seek to change. “Confucius taught three thousand disciples, of whom the more eminent became influential authors. Like Plato and Xenophon, they recorded the sayings of their master, and his maxims and arguments preserved in their works were afterward added to the national collection of the sacred books called the ‘Nim Classes.’”

Confucius was a mere boy when his father died, and we know next to nothing of his early years. At fifteen years of age, however, we are told that he devoted himself to learning, pursuing his studies under considerable difficulties, his family being poor. He married when he was nineteen years of age; and in the following year was born his son Le, his only child, of whose descendants eleven thousand males were living one hundred and fifty years ago, constituting the only hereditary nobility of China,—a class who for seventy generations were the recipients of the highest honors and privileges. On the birth of Le, the duke Ch’aou of Loo sent Confucius a present of a carp, which seems to indicate that he was already distinguished for his attainments.