Confucius had a major impact on Chinese society and culture. His teachings emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. Confucianism was the foundation for the development of Chinese culture, education, politics and law by shaping the mentality of Chinese people for about 2,000 years.
In fact, Confucius was born in 551 BC in the state of Lu. He was educated in music and literature but decided to become a teacher instead of pursuing a career in government service as was customary among his class.
He became well known for his teaching abilities and students gathered around him from all over China. He developed a philosophy called Confucianism that emphasized morality and ethics as the basis for good government. This philosophy would influence Chinese culture for thousands of years to come.
Confucius did not have much political power during his lifetime but his teachings were very influential during the time of imperial China (221 BC – 1912 AD). In fact, many emperors followed Confucian principles when ruling their nation including Emperor Wen (180 BC – 157 BC) who was one of Confucianism’s most ardent supporters.
However, Confucius’ ideas were first recorded in The Analects (Lun Yu), which is still regarded as one of the most important books in Chinese philosophy today. The Analects is a collection of sayings from Confucius’ disciples. Some scholars believe that Confucius himself wrote the book; others think that it was compiled after his death by his disciples or students who were inspired by his teachings to record them in writing.