Confucius and Confucianism
- Published: Thursday, 25 September 2014 09:57
Richard Williams Brooks – USA
[Theosophical Encyclopedia, edited by Philip S. Harris, Vicente R. Hao Chin, Jr., and Richard W. Brooks (Quezon City, Philippines: Theosophical Publishing House, 2006), pp. 163-165. Here lightly edited.]
Confucius was one of the most important philosophers of ancient China, and one of only two whose names have been Latinized (the other being the post-Confucian philosopher Mencius or Meng K’e, later called Meng Tzu). He was born K’ung Ch’iu (Kong Chiu in the modern pinyin system of transliteration) in the state of Lu in 551 BCE during the gradual decline of the Chou (Zhou) Dynasty (1122-771 BCE). Tradition identifies his family as formerly part of the aristocracy, but by his time it had declined both in social and economic status. His father died when he was three, and he was raised by his mother. He obviously received an education in ancient literature, for he was very familiar with it and is said to have written commentaries on some of it. He married and had at least one son and one daughter.