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The Analects of Confucius (from the Chinese Classics)   By: (551 BC - 479 BC)

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The Analects of Confucius, a compilation of teachings from the famous Chinese philosopher and educator Confucius, remains one of the most significant texts from ancient China. Despite its origins being shrouded in mystery and the absence of a specific author, its enduring influence and timeless wisdom have made it a cornerstone of Chinese philosophy.

The book is divided into twenty chapters, each containing aphoristic statements and conversations between Confucius and his disciples. These dialogues cover a wide range of topics, including ethics, governance, education, morality, and interpersonal relationships. Confucius's teachings, known as Confucianism, are centered on the importance of self-improvement, filial piety, and the cultivation of virtue.

One of the notable aspects of The Analects is its simplicity and brevity. Confucius's teachings are concise yet profound, encapsulating complex ideas in a few carefully chosen words. This minimalistic style makes the book accessible to readers of all backgrounds, and its lessons remain applicable even in the modern world.

The Analects also highlights the importance of education and the role of the teacher in shaping the character of individuals and society as a whole. Confucius believed that education should focus on moral development, emphasizing the cultivation of virtues such as benevolence, righteousness, and loyalty. By doing so, individuals could contribute to creating a harmonious and prosperous society.

Furthermore, The Analects provides valuable insights into Confucius himself. Through the recorded conversations, readers gain a deeper understanding of his character, virtues, and moral principles. Confucius's humility, integrity, and unwavering pursuit of knowledge serve as inspiring examples for readers seeking guidance in their own lives.

While The Analects offers timeless wisdom, it is essential to approach this book with an open mind and consider its historical context. The text reflects the societal and cultural norms of ancient China, which may differ significantly from contemporary values. Some concepts, such as the importance of hierarchy and conformity, may raise questions and prompt further reflection.

One minor drawback of The Analects is the occasional lack of clarity in the translations. As the book has been translated into various languages over the centuries, the nuances and subtleties of the original text may be lost. However, reputable translations aim to capture the essence of Confucius's teachings, ensuring that readers can still grasp the fundamental concepts conveyed.

In conclusion, The Analects of Confucius is a timeless masterpiece that continues to resonate with readers across cultures and generations. Its teachings on ethics, virtue, and education have shaped the foundations of Chinese civilization and continue to inspire individuals seeking a path towards personal and societal flourishing. Although its origins remain mysterious, the enduring influence of Confucius's wisdom makes this book an essential read for anyone interested in philosophy, ethics, or the pursuit of a virtuous life.

First Page:


with a translation, critical and exegetical notes, prolegomena, and copious indexes

by James Legge




CHAPTER I. 1. The Master said, 'Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application? 2. 'Is it not delightful to have friends coming from distant quarters?' 3. 'Is he not a man of complete virtue, who feels no discomposure though men may take no note of him?'

CHAP. II. 1. The philosopher Yu said, 'They are few who, being filial and fraternal, are fond of offending against their superiors. There have been none, who, not liking to offend against their superiors, have been fond of stirring up confusion. 2. 'The superior man bends his attention to what is radical.

That being established, all practical courses naturally grow up. Filial piety and fraternal submission! are they not the root of all benevolent actions?' CHAP. III. The Master said, 'Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue.' CHAP. IV. The philosopher Tsang said, 'I daily examine myself on three points: whether, in transacting business for others, I may have been not faithful; whether, in intercourse with friends, I may have been not sincere; whether I may have not mastered and practised the instructions of my teacher... Continue reading book >>

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