The Teachings of Confucius
All Confucius's learning qualified him to teach, which he started to do in his thirties. He became known as the first teacher in China whose concern was providing education for all. The rich had tutors for their children; he believed everyone could benefit from self-education. He defined learning as not only the acquisition of knowledge but also the building of character.
A major point in his teaching was filial piety, the virtue of devotion to one's parents. He considered it the foundation of virtue and the root of human character. Interestingly, the male attitude toward sex was strict. The purpose of sex was to conceive children, preferably sons. Sexual excess on the part of a ruler was given as a valid reason to take the right to rule from him.
Proper social behavior and etiquette were considered essential to right living. An ethical view is set forth in the Analects, a collection of moral and social teachings that amount to a code of human conduct. Many of the sayings were passed on orally. Here are some examples:
Clever words and a plausible appearance have seldom turned out to be humane.
Young men should be filial when at home and respectful to elders when away from home. They should be earnest and trustworthy. Although they should love the multitude far and wide, they should be intimate only with the humane. If they have any energy to spare after so doing, they should use it to study culture.
The gentleman is calm and peaceful; the small man is always emotional.
In his attitude to the world the gentleman has no antagonisms and no favoritisms. What is right he sides with.
If one acts with a view to profit, there will be much resentment.
One who can bring about the practice of five things everywhere under Heaven has achieved humanity … courtesy, tolerance, good faith, diligence, and kindness.
Confucius concentrated his teachings on his vision, Jen, which has been translated in the most complete way as: love, goodness, and human-heartedness; moral achievement and excellence in character; loyalty to one's true nature; then righteousness; and, finally, filial piety. All this adds up to the principle of virtue within the person.