- Circa 600BC in North central coastal China.
- Started a successful school for bureaucrats
- Taught his philosophies of conduct and ethics.
- Students were often sons of rulers.
- Later in his life traveled through China, meeting and advising rulers of various states.
- A philosophy that evolved out of his teachings.
- Teachings were practical rather than religious or metaphysical.
- Dealt with the conduct and morality of rulers, bureaucrats, and citizens .
- Central premise: Ordinary activities of individuals are sacred and must be conducted in an ethical manner.
- Central concept: "jen" - a quality of magnanimity, virtue and honesty which every individual should strive for.
- The goal was to produce a society of individuals who live a life of harmony and virtue.
- Contrast with the other major philosophy of the time, Taoism ("the way"), which dealt with metaphysics.
- Encapsulated in pithy sayings documented in his books of sayings - the Analects.
- Confucianism has other sacred texts (some predated Confucius, others were edited by his followers):
- Four books (one of which is the Analects)
- Five Classics (among which are IChing: Book of Changes, dealing with metaphysics and the cosmos as an interaction of yin and yang, the Book of Poetry, the Book of History).