He is said to have worked in various government jobs during his early 20s, and as a bookkeeper and a caretaker of sheep and horses, using the proceeds to give his mother a proper burial. The Ji family held the position "Minister over the Masses", who was also the "Prime Minister"; the Meng family held the position "Minister of Works"; and the Shu family held the position "Minister of War".
He was educated in the Confucian tradition by his father and passed the highest civil service examination at the age of 18, when the average age for such an accomplishment was There he proceeded to reform the management of taxation and police, improve the library and the standards of the local school, and draw up a code of proper formal conduct and ritual, none being previously available.
Before proceeding to Tongan, Zhu Xi called on Li Tong, a thinker in the tradition of Song Confucianism who decisively influenced his future thinking.
He visited Li again in and spent several months studying with him in Li was one of the ablest followers of the 11th-century neo-Confucians who had created a new metaphysical system to compete with Buddhist and Daoist philosophy and regain the Confucian intellectual ascendancy lost for nearly a millennium.
After his assignment at Tongan ended, Zhu Xi did not accept another official appointment until He did, however, continue to express his political views in memorandums addressed to the emperor.
Though Zhu Xi also remained involved in public affairs, his persistent refusal to accept a substantive public office reflected his dissatisfaction with the men in power and their policies, his spurning of factional politics, and his preference for the life of a teacher and scholar, which was made possible by his receipt of a series of government sinecures.
These years were productive in thought and scholarship as indicated both by his formal writings and by his correspondence with friends and scholars of diverse views. Infor instance, he held a famous philosophical debate with the philosopher Lu Jiuyuan Lu Xiangshan at which neither man was able to prevail.
In a number of works, including a compilation of the works of the Cheng brothers and studies of Zhou Dunyi —73 and Zhang Zai —77he expressed his esteem for these four philosophers, whose ideas he incorporated and synthesized into his own thought.
According to Zhu Xi, these thinkers had restored the transmission of the Confucian Way daoa process that had been lost after the death of Mencius.
While serving as prefect —81 in Nankang, Jiangsi, Zhu Xi used the opportunity to rehabilitate the White Deer Grotto Academywhich had been founded in the 9th century and had flourished in the 10th century but had later fallen to ruin.
The prestige restored to it by Zhu was to last through eight centuries. Academies such as this provided an invaluable institutional basis for the neo-Confucian movement.
In Zhu Xi wrote an important commentary on this text, and he continued to work on Daxue for the rest of his life. It was largely because of the influence of Zhu Xi that these two texts came to be accepted along with the Analects and Mencius as the Four Books basic to the Confucian educational curriculum.
On several occasions during his later career Zhu was invited to the imperial court and seemed destined for more influential positions, but his invariably frank and forceful opinions and his uncompromising attacks on corruption and political expediency each time brought his dismissal or his transfer to a new post conveniently distant from the capital.
On the last of these occasions, near the end of his life, his enemies retaliated with virulent accusations concerning his views and conduct, and he was barred from political activity.
He was still in political disgrace when he died in In later centuries, rulers more authoritarian than those he had criticized, discreetly forgetting his political and intellectual nonconformity, made his philosophic system the sole orthodox creed, which it remained until the end of the 19th century.
Zhu Xi held that the cosmos has two aspects: The indeterminate, or liis natural law and determines the patterns of all created things. This law combines with the vital psychophysical qi to produce phenomena having form.
In human beings the li, manifested as human nature xingis essentially perfect, and defects—including vices—are introduced into the body and mind through impurities of qi, or life force. Human beings may eliminate their mental imperfections through study of ethics and metaphysics.
In these respects Zhu differed from the eminent contemporary neo-Confucian Lu Jiuyuan, who saw no distinction between natural law and vital energy and believed in human perfectability through meditation. The study of ethics and metaphysics in turn constituted an ingredient both in building a personal faith and in advising emperors through whose self-cultivation order might be restored in the world.
His intellectual influence was also paramount in Korea, and his ideas won wide acceptance and official support in Tokugawa Japan as well. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:Confucius ( BC BC) Nationality: Chinese Known for: Developed the system known as Confucianism The philosophy of Confucius focused on self improvement, the morality of governing a people, justice and personal relationships with others.
Watch video · Confucius Biography Philosopher (c. BCE– BCE) Confucius was an influential Chinese philosopher, teacher and political figure known for . According to Ban Gu, writing in the Book of Han, the Analects originated as individual records kept by Confucius's disciples of conversations between the Master and them, which were then collected and jointly edited by the disciples after Confucius's death in BC.
The work is therefore titled Lunyu meaning "edited conversations" or "selected speeches" (i.e. analects). We're hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads. To support Open Culture's continued operation, please consider making a donation. Confucius became one of the great teachers of history but aspired to public office.
He had supreme confidence in his ability to reorder society. Legend has it that at the age of fifty Confucius ascended through the offices of Minister of Public Works and Minister of Justice to Prime Minister.
Confucius (/ k ən ˈ f j uː ʃ ə s / kən-FEW-shəs; – BC) was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history..
The philosophy of Confucius, also known as Confucianism, emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and ashio-midori.com .