Confucius and Lao Tzu: The Analects of Confucius

Confucius and Lao Tzu: The Analects of Confucius

Confucius and Lao Tzu represent the two great components in Chinese philosophy — rational and mystical. Confucianism is based on humanity, benevolence and goodness, setting a high value on age and the past. Since the ancients understood the true order of heaven and earth, it followed that the Chinese past was an infallible model for the present.

According to legend, Lao Tzu left China at the age of eighty, saddened that men would not follow the path to natural goodness. At the border with Tibet, a guard asked him to record his teachings, and the Tao Te Ching is what he wrote down before leaving. In it, a mystical insight into the nature of things forms the basis for a humane morality and a vision of political utopia.

Confucius (traditionally 551 bc-479 bc) is the famous great sage of China. He was born in the Chinese State of Lu in 551 bc and was the son of a noble family who had recently fled from the State of Song. His parents, however, died when he was three and he grew up in very poor conditions as an orphan. He spent his time attempting to learn everything there was to know, and then passing the knowledge he possessed onto others.

Lao Tzu is the reputed founder of Taoism. It is uncertain that Lao Tzu is historical, but he is thought to have been a contemporary of Confucius and to have served as curator of the dynastic archives until retiring to the mythical K'un-lun mountains.

Book
Author Arthur Waley
Genre Fiction
Published Date 2005

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Tags: confucius, waley, analysis