Confucius, the Great Educator
Confucius (551 - 479 BC) was surnamed Kong and his given name was Qiu, and he styled himself Zhongni. He was born in Zouyi in the State of Lu (in the southeast of today's Qufu, Shandong Province) in the late Spring and Autumn Period. He was the founder of Confucianism.
Confucius was one of the great thinkers that emerged at this time. He advanced the theory of benevolence (ren) on the part of rulers toward their people, stressing that the wealth they produced should not be squandered and political rule should be based on virtue, not force.
Confucius was also a great educator. In his time, only children from aristocratic families could receive education. Confucius advocated "treating everyone the same in educating people". He taught his pupils without discrimination, no matter what their social status was. Confucius established private schools and broke the government's monopoly over education. It is said that Confucius taught as many as 3,000 pupils, among whom 72 became very famous. Confucius proposed "teaching students according to their aptitude". He said one should be honest in learning and not pretend to know what one did not know. He told his pupils to review what they had learned regularly during their study, because "new knowledge can be gained by reviewing old knowledge", he also told his pupils to combine study with thinking.
Confucius' disciples recorded his words and deeds in The Analects of Confucius, which is one of the classics of the Confucian school. Confucius?theories formed the orthodox ruling ideology in China for over 2,000 years.
The Six Classics
The Six Classics are six ancient works considered central to the Confucian canon, namely, The Book of Changes, The Book of Songs, The Book of Rites, The Book of Music, The Book of History and The Spring and Autumn Annals. These works are said to have been compiled and edited by Confucius himself. They are immortal contributions Confucius made to the development of ancient Chinese culture.