Tag Archives: Confucius

Duke Ding of Lu

Duke Ding (魯定公) was the predecessor of Duke Ai (哀公) as the ruler of Lu, and reigned from around 509 to 495 BC. Although responsible for elevating Confucius to his highest official position as Minister of Justice (大司寇) of Lu, the duke was ultimately at least indirectly responsible for Confucius’s decision to go into exile because of his inability to control the Three Families, who were the de facto rulers of the state. Indeed, Duke Ding was said to be so weak that he was the kind of ruler who “held the blade of the sword and offered the handle to his enemies.” Continue reading Duke Ding of Lu

Analects of Confucius Book 1: Overview

Lingxing Gate, Temple of Confucius, Qufu
Lingxing Gate, Temple of Confucius, Qufu

Before you read a single word of the Analects, it is important to understand that the work comprises a collection of conversations and aphorisms rather than a manifesto. Each of its twenty books features multiple exchanges between multiple characters discussing multiple topics – much like a modern-day social media feed. There are no linear arguments based on carefully-marshaled facts that build up to a resounding conclusion. It is left to you, the reader, to pick through the various threads of the text and connect them to the others to build up your overall understanding of the teachings contained in it.
Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Overview

Analects of Confucius Book 2: New English Translation

Read this new English translation of the Analects of Confucius Book 2 to learn more about the teachings of China’s most famous philosopher. Its main themes include leadership, filial devotion, learning, thinking, and trust. 

Chapter 1
子曰:「為政以德,譬如北辰,居其所而眾星共之。」
Confucius said: “Governing by the power of virtue can be compared to the Pole Star, which remains fixed in place while all the other stars orbit respectfully around it.”
Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 2: New English Translation

Analects of Confucius Book 1: New English Translation

Read this new English translation of the Analects of Confucius Book 1 to learn more about the teachings of China’s most famous philosopher. Its main themes include learning, filial devotion, self-cultivation, and leadership.

Chapter 1
子曰:「學而時習之,不亦說乎?有朋自遠方來,不亦樂乎?人不知而不慍,不亦君子乎?」
Confucius said: “Isn’t it a pleasure to study and constantly apply the lessons that you’ve learned? Isn’t it a joy to have friends visit from afar? Isn’t it the mark of a leader to remain unconcerned when others don’t recognize your talents?” Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: New English Translation

Analects Book 2: resources

I’ve finished my analysis of Book 2 of The Analects. You can click on the links below to learn more about the main themes of the book, including governance, leadership, and learning:

Analects Book 2 translation
Analects of Book 2: overview
Analects Book 2 by numbers
Analects Book 2 presentation
Analects Book 2: followers of Confucius
Analects Book 2: contemporary figures
Analects Book 2: Confucius on leadership qualities
Analects Book 2: Confucius on lifelong learning
Analects Book 2: Confucius on balanced learning
Analects Book 2: Confucius on governance
Analects Book 2: Confucius on the rites
Analects Book 2: Confucius on the meaning of filial devotion
Analects Book 2: Confucius on trustworthiness
Analects Book 2: Confucius on culture
Analects Book 2: Confucius on law

Analects Book 2: Confucius on law

Law

As a magistrate in his home state of Lu, Confucius would have had plenty of opportunities to see at first hand the arbitrariness and brutality of the legal system that prevailed in ancient China. Justice was rare and punishments were extremely severe for the convicted, who faced summary dismemberment and execution. Even those who managed to evade such horrific sanctions were tattooed so that they were clearly identified as criminals after their sentence was completed. Continue reading Analects Book 2: Confucius on law