Confucius and Guatama Siddhartha

The Lives of Confucius and Guatama Siddhartha

Dariush Nazem
World Civilization 121
September 19, 1996
Professor: Helju Bennett
Section Teacher: Sara Abosch

The Life Of Confucius

Throughout the time span that man has lived on earth, there have been
many religions in existence. Two very important and influencing religions that
have been around for over two thousand years are Confucianism and Buddhism. The
founders of these two religions, Confucius and Buddha, respectively, lived
different lives and had different thoughts. Although this made two totally
different religions, they both had one common goal. That common goal was to
assist the human population and improve their lifestyle.
Confucius was a sage in China and also it's greatest philosopher. He
was one of the most prominent figures and is respected throughout all of China.
He was born at Tsou, in the state of Lu, known today as the Shandong province,
in the year 551 B.C. He was named Ch'iu, meaning ?hill', because he had a very
large bump on his head. This name has rarely been used because of the Chinese
way of showing ?reverence by avoidance?. (Encyclopedia Americana, v. 7; 540)
K'ung Futzu was what was used. The name got Latinized and it became Confucius.
Ever since Confucius' birth, he was a great student. All throughout his
childhood Confucius liked to play religious and cultural roles. By the age of
15, Confucius began to take his studies very seriously. He was a diligent and
studious learner and put forth his whole effort on his studies. Nothing is
known about his educators or his education.
Confucius started work at an early age, due to the fact that his father
died. By the age of seventeen, Confucius received a job in the public service.
Most likely this job was being a keeper of fields and cattle, a town governor,
or a court arbiter of ritual. Confucius, because he loved to learn and he loved
his studies so much, became a very educated man and in turn was highly respected.

In 529 B.C. Confucius' mother died and observed the standard withdrawal
from life of three years. This included the withdrawal from his duties as a
public worker. After this long observance, Confucius returned home and opened
his house up to students and began teaching. This became his full time job and
he took it seriously. At one point, Confucius' teachings were wanted by so many
that he had 3,000 students attending his school. 72 of them had mastered the
six arts-rituals, music, archery, charioteering, literature, and mathematics.
He was a great teacher, well known and respected. He was able to get his
disciples responsible positions in the Chinese government and also able to get
them jobs as teachers. He knew many and the favors that he asked for were
granted by others.
Confucius believed that ?knowledge meant wisdom?, (Encyclopedia
Americana, v. 7; 540). He thought that this in turn would help him become more
educated and not only to help himself but to also help the country. He was a
reformer and preached for good government. He believed in such idea like ?
avoidance of needless wars, decrease in taxes, and mitigation of severe
punishment?. (Encyclopedia Americana, v. 7; 540) He finally received that
opportunity in the state of Lu. The state of Lu, where Confucius was born, was
in turmoil. There were three major families fighting. Each one fighting
against each other just to see who could become more powerful. One of these
families, the emperor of Mang He, allowed Confucius to come to his capital.
Mang He wanted Confucius to teach his son the teachings and allow him to become
a disciple.
This enabled Confucius to learn a great deal about past empires and past
emperors. He was able to obtain resources that only officials had access to.
It also allowed him to collect materials and information for works that he would
produce later on in his life.
Confucius soon returned back to Lu to find more disorganization and more
fighting. The ruler, Duke Chao, fleed for refuge and Confucius followed. Here
Confucius thought that he could become ruler but there was great envy that
suppressed his advancement.
Soon after, Confucius was appointed governor of Chung Tu. Here is where
Confucius had success. In such a short time, he reformed this state. It became
a model for many other states to follow. After four years of government and a
disagreement with a Duke, Confucius went into wandering for 13 years.
Confucius traveled about trying to help reform different states. But no
one really needed his help so at the age of 67 Confucius returned back to his
home state of Lu. His wife, son, and two of his favorite disciples all died in a
short time