A treasure trove of wise and pithy sayings, reflections on education, family values, the ideal human being, life and living, politics, art, culture and timeless wisdom, The Sayings of Confucius is indeed an invaluable addition to your bookshelf.
Ever since Chinese literary works first began to be translated into European languages, the works of the legendary Chinese philosopher and teacher Confucius, who lived in present day Qufu in the Shandong province of China, more than two thousand years ago, have held universal appeal. He was a teacher, philosopher, editor, mentor and politician who lived at some period during 776-476 BC and is credited with editing and writing many texts and treatises. However, he is best known for his Aphorisms or Sayings. These are compact, perceptive and often witty sayings, which were compiled in a volume of Analects long after his death.
Confucius, or Kong Fuzi, to give the Chinese rendering of his name, was brought up by his mother in great deprivation and poverty after the early death of his father, a valiant and victorious army general. Though they were aristocrats descended from the royal Song dynasty, circumstances forced their ancestors to flee from violence in their native state and settle down in the walled city of Zhou. As a young man, Confucius endured humiliation and hardship, having worked as a menial laborer and shepherd to make ends meet. However, he managed to educate himself and in his later years, gathered a large and dedicated group of students round him.
He also held high positions in the government in the kingdom of Lu where he reached the peak of his political career and became the confidant of the Duke. His works became the foundation for centuries of Chinese intellectual thought and are revered even today. His philosophy is based on the concept of “ren” or compassion, and his famous Golden Rule, “What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others,” remains immortal. “He who learns but does not think is lost, he who thinks but does not learn is in great danger” is another example.
The genealogical descendants of Confucius still exist in China, where the Kong family has the oldest recorded ancestry in the world, but his spiritual family is scattered all over the world and across generations. Confucius' teachings continue to delight, enlighten and educate us and his Sayings remain relevant and fresh even in this modern Age of Information.