Confucius was born around 551 BCE in Lu province in Chou
times. His parents were nobility, but had become poor when the empire
disintegrated into feudal states.
When Confucius was about 15 years old, he became
quite interested in learning. In those days, only the nobility and royals
were allowed education. All the teachers were government officials.
hard for Confucius to find a way to learn. He couldn't go to the public
library or go to public school. These things did not yet exist in ancient
To solve this, he went to work for a nobleman. This gave him the
opportunity to learn and to travel to the imperial capital.
Confucius studied and learned until he probably was
the most learned man of his day. People heard of his knowledge and sent
their sons to study with him. He was the first private teacher in China.
Confucius taught anyone who was eager to learn. His ideas, called
Confucianism, stress the need to develop responsibility and moral
character through rigid rules of behavior.
Confucianism is not, properly speaking, a religion;
it's a way of behaving, so you'll do the right things.
Excerpt from The Analects
of Confucius, c.400 BCE
Do not do unto
others, what you would not want others to do to you
If you make a mistake and do
not correct it, this is called a mistake
Confucianism, in T'ang
times, was a social code of behavior, a very set and
rigid code of behavior, that honored ancestors and ancient rituals.
Everything had to be done a certain way. One of his
rules, for example, was that gentlemen could only display their skill as
archers on three hunts a year, in the spring, autumn, and winter.
There's a saying about Confucius: "If the mat
was not straight, the Master would not sit." You might think to
yourself: "Wow. What a fussy." But think about it. In English,
if you write a sentence, the first word must start with a capital letter
and the last word must end with a period, an exclamation point, or a
question mark. Otherwise, it's not a sentence. "If the mat was not
straight, the Master would not sit."
Today, the Chinese celebrate Confucius Birthday
(Teacher's Day), in honor of their ancestor, the teacher, Confucius.
3 Teachings for Kids
China for Kids
Lesson Plans about Confucius for Teachers
Powerpoints about Confucianism
Powerpoints about Taoism
Powerpoints about Buddhism
Games about the Three Teachings
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