1. Confucius Referred to as Kung Fu-tzu in Chinese
Among the Chinese, Confucius is also known as Kung Fu-tzu, a Latinized name which means “Master Kong.” He was born in the Northeast China in a state called Lu in 551 BCE. At the age of 3, Confucius lost his father, Kong He, who was a military officer. Though he performed well in school, Confucius grew up in poverty.
2. Start of a Teaching Career
At 19 years of age, Confucius married Qi Guan. He had to work as a laborer to support his family, in addition to being a bookkeeper, a cowherd, a shepherd, and a clerk. Confucius’ firstborn child was named Kong Li. His mother died in 527 BCE when he was 23 years old. A year after his mother’s death, Confucius launched into a new teaching career.
3. Content of His Teachings
In his teachings, Confucius urged citizens to be good and encouraged them to respect and honor their ancestors and parents. He mentioned that people should be polite, kind, wise, and honest. He asked leaders to serve as role models in depicting good behavior. He believed that with good leaders, people would follow the same example, resulting in a happy, peaceful, and progressive society.
4. Confucius Became a Judge at 50
In the year 501 BCE, Confucius turned 50 and became a judge. He was appointed to oversee law and order the following year in the state of Lu. Confucius developed laws based on his teachings. These laws became very effective to an extent that crime almost became extinct. After five years of serving as a judge, Confucius lost his job as a result of his jealous rivals plotting against him.
5. An Admired and Respected Teacher
After losing his job as a judge, Confucius taught over the next 12 years. He became a famous, admired, and respected teacher. After his death in 479 BC at the age of 72 in Qufu, analects were used to preserve his teachings that were focused on developing ethical models for public and family interactions as well as setting standards for education.
6. Confucianism Became China’s Imperial Philosophy
The followers of Confucius founded Confucianism, which today is one of the oldest and largest religions in the world as well as in China. His students wrote his teachings and later compiled them into four books known as Sishu. These books have been studied for 2,400 years by the Chinese as Confucianism became China’s official philosophy, which was largely influential during the Tang, Han, and Song dynasties.
7. Confucius’ Family Tree
Today, the Confucius’ or the Kongs’ family tree has the longest extant pedigree ever recorded in the world. The tree has its 83rd generation recorded since Confucius died. According to the Confucius Genealogy, he has about 3 million registered and known descendants. Tens of thousands of these registered descendants live in other countries, with an estimated 34,000 of his descendants living in Korea while others live in Taiwan.
8. Confucius’ Golden Rule
Confucius is said to have introduced the “golden rule” that encourages people to wish others what they would wish for themselves. He is also noted for teaching people not to impose stuff that they wouldn’t choose for themselves on others.
9. Confucius Had a Personal and a Courtesy Name
The personal name that doubled as the family name for Confucius was Kong Qiu. Zhongni was his courtesy name, which is referred to as the Chinese Style Name. This name is meant for use later in life. Other names used to refer to Confucius include “First Teacher,” “Great Sage,” and “Model Teacher for 10,000 Ages.”
10. Confucius’ Deepest Teaching
Among the deepest teachings attributed to Confucius is the one on personal exemplification and its superiority over rules of behavior. Mencius, a renowned philosopher of Chinese descent, is among his notable students, while Yan Hui was his favorite disciple.