Confucius: A Throneless King
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Now in paperback, An illuminating portrait of Confucius’s life and philosophical teachings.
Confucius is one of the most important figures in Chinese history, a man whose philosophies have shaped world culture. Often overlooked outside his native country, Confucius himself was a fascinating figure. A contemporary of Buddha, Confucius was an outspoken and uncompromising man who revolutionized Chinese society nearly 2,500 years ago, when the country was merely a loose web of feudal provinces. No small feat for the illegitimate son of a retired soldier and a teenage concubine, who once received a prophecy from the local fortune-teller that she would give birth to a “throneless king.”
Perhaps because of these humble beginnings, Confucius had a passionate belief in respect for others and this belief underpinned his life and teachings. He advised the emperors and kings of his day, gaining their respect and undying enmity along the way. He was equally proud of both achievements, saying that if the evil people of the world liked him, he was doing something wrong.
In this enlightening portrait of a great man, the reader will discover how Confucius’s theories became the foundation of social structures throughout Asia that still exist today.
8 pages of black & white illustrations
between the human and spiritual realms; one way in which they communicated with the spirit world was through divination rituals. They questioned the spirits through inscriptions on oracle bones in the hope of determining the success or failure of a battle, harvest or other important undertaking. The Zhou shared many of the Shang beliefs, but instead of the god Shang Di their focus was on the concept of Heaven, which they viewed as the sacred moral power of the universe. Since it was this that
who had been supervising these musical distractions, was Yan Ying, Confucius’ old adversary at the court of Qi. Yan Ying had undoubtedly been dismayed to see Confucius arrive at the meeting with the Duke. Now that Confucius had foiled their plans to kidnap Duke Ding he was furious, but he had no choice but to obey his lord. After this failed attempt to disrupt the meeting and abduct Duke Ding, Duke Jing of Qi was forced to begin the peace summit in earnest, and the negotiations began. He
examinations. The Confucius Temple in Qufu, the town of his birth and death, was built on the site of Confucius’ home shortly after he died, and has become a place of pilgrimage for many of his followers for centuries. Confucian temples have also been established in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. In Hanoi, the Confucian temple known as Van Mieu, or Temple of Literature (built in AD 1070), housed statues of Confucius and his main disciples, to whom offerings were made, and
Historian, p. 1. 34 This story is recounted both in Clements, Confucius, p. 18, and in Legge, Confucius, p. 62. 35 In the Doctrine of the Mean (Zhongyong), one of the Four Books (Sishu) selected in the Song dynasty (960–1279) to introduce the teachings of Confucius, Confucius is said to have lamented that he himself felt that he had failed in his roles as son, subject, younger brother and friend. If this is the case, his admiration for his mother’s accomplishments would make perfect sense.
human beings and thus contribute to a more harmonious society. He rejected the practice of mystics and hermits, who retreated from society in order to develop their characters. ‘One cannot associate with birds and beasts,’ he said. ‘With whom should I keep company, if not with my own kind?’41 There was nothing more important to Confucius than the way in which people relate to each other at all levels of society and in all aspects of life. His most faithful student, Zilu, summed up his attitude to