Great spiritual teachers have arisen in all societies and cultures around the globe. Some lived remarkable lives while others lived quiet lives of devotion and service. One such spiritual teacher is Confucius, born in 6th century in China.
Confucius’ father died when he was three years old. He was raised solely by his mother. They were quite poor, but the family probably came from noble lineage. Confucius had many occupations as a young man, including working as a shepherd, clerk and accountant. He was married at the age of nineteen and had at least one child, a son.
Confucius was part a movement to establish a new class in Chinese society that was based on talent and skills rather than inherited social status. He travelled for ten years expounding upon his revolutionary political beliefs. Confucius also believed that developing keen judgment was more important than rote learning of rules and regulations. He is widely considered to be the founder of virtue ethics.
During the last years of his life, Confucius spent most of his time teaching his disciples. One of his most famous teachings was an eastern version of the Golden Rule: “never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.”
Confucius’ teachings were later turned into a set of texts called the Analects. These texts formed the foundation of what we know today as Confucianism. Ironically these complex teachings were in contrast with the simple philosophy of the religion’s founder. Instead, it is Confucius’ devotion to inner wisdom and the ethics of the heart that have given him his place in history and ultimately his immortal freedom.