Confucius dreamed of becoming a great minister of state and putting an end to corruption and bloodshed. He spent much of his free time between the age of 19 to 30 in the libraries of Chufu reading.
He said, “When people are educated, the distinction between classes disappears…. If the sons of emperors and princes are without quality, they should be reduced to the ranks of the common people. If the sons of the common people have quality, they should be elevated to the ranks of the rulers.”
Confucius was the first teacher in China to start a school that accepted students from every class. The sons of peasants and powerful families mingled and formed friendships.
Confucius demanded absolute honesty, total self-control and unyielding virtue from his followers. “A superior man thinks about what is right. A small man thinks about what is profitable. A superior man demands much of himself. A small man demands much of others. A superior man accepts his lot in common. A small man is full of complaints.”
One goal remained—a position of power. In 501 BC when Confucius was fifty, the young leader the Duchy of Lu begged Confucius to give up his teaching.
Confucius said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.… You should give education and knowledge to the common people instead of ignoring or subjugating them.” The Duke made Confucius the governor of Lu and while Confucius governed, the streets were safe, crime almost vanished and merchants stopped cheating their customers.
Return to Part 2 of “The Life of Confucius” or go to Part 4
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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