‘It is not the failure of others to appreciate your abilities that should trouble you, but rather your failure to appreciate theirs’
Collected by his disciples over 2,000 years ago, the teachings of Confucius remain at the very heart of Chinese civilisation and tradition and have influenced almost every other society, both Eastern and Western. Reading them today is to rediscover one of the great thinkers in world history – a seminal and enlightened philosopher, as influential as Aristotle and Marcus Aurelius. Like Buddha and Jesus, Confucius emphasised humility and compassion, and his appeal for kindness, order and respect for others stemmed from the belief that virtue is the only path worth taking.
‘Observe the errors and you will know the man.’
Born into a noble family in 552 or 551 bc, Confucius travelled extensively between Chinese states, offering advice to rulers. In old age he retired from public life to devote himself to teaching until his death in 479 bc. Beyond this little is nown of him, but simple details emerge throughout The Analects to offer revealing insights into the man’s character. Best known as the master of the sage saying – ‘Do not impose on others what you do not yourself desire’; ‘Avoid excesses in expenditure and love your fellow man’ – Confucius is far more than that. The Analects present a celebration of the ‘good life’, expressed in language of great poetry. Confucius said, ‘I have never denied instruction to anyone.’
In this edition, illustrated with beautiful medieval Chinese paintings that reflect Confucian subjects and ideas, every reader can profit from his timeless philosophy.
‘In the eating of coarse rice and the drinking of water, the using of one’s elbow for a pillow, joy is to be found.’