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A Short Introduction to Confucius

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32 pages29 minutes

Summary

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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