Originally his name was Kong Qiu. He was born into a wealthy family ad worked as a servant when his father died. He found time to study and over time became an administrator in the Lu Court. When his suggestions to the rulers were ignored he left his position to concentrate on teaching. He travelled throughout the Chinese Empire teaching as he went and fragments of his teachings and sayings have been collected by Confucian scholars.
So what did Confucius believe?
Confucius looked to the past for his wisdom. He blended the wisdom of the past with the changing of the present. China was developing a civil service class of people, people who earned their positions through merit rather than by family position.
The Analects, a collection of his teachings and sayings, is the main source for learning about Confucius. It is more of a political treatise for how to form a good government with some attention to how to be a good gentleman (junzi). At it's heart is a comprehensive ethical system. Good gentlemen form good governments.
Heaven (tian) uses people (not just those in high classes but ANYONE) to unite the world with moral order. It is the duty of people to act with virtue(the "de") and benevolence in order to achieve a just and stable society.
Faithfulness and sincerity are shown in traditional rituals and ceremonies.
These qualities in these settings allow virtue to become visible.
Virtue is then made manifest in the world.
Virtue can then be seen by others.
Others are transformed by virtue.
Faithfulness and sincerity hold the power of transformation.
Some of Confucius' sayings
He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it. Confucius, The Confucian Analects
Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous. Confucius, The Confucian Analects
The determined scholar and the man of virtue will not seek to live at the expense of injuring their virtue. They will even sacrifice their lives to preserve their virtue complete. Confucius, The Confucian Analects
When anger rises, think of the consequences. Confucius
A man who has committed a mistake and doesn't correct it is committing another mistake. Confucius
I have to admit, I'm glad I took the time to try to understand some of what Confucius taught. He wasn't just a man of random sayings (Like I'd had thought). :)
But he's a man who really wanted to change society for the best, and he thought that by letting your virtue be seen that society could be changed for the better.
As believers we know that society is changed by letting people see God at work in you and telling others the reason for why you do things. It's not just in how we live. THOUGH how we maintain our relationships with others speaks to our relationship with God as well.
What do you think of Confucius???