Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Lillian. Lillian Wonders, “Who is Confucius?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Lillian!

Do you follow The Golden Rule? It’s a pretty good guide for how to treat others. The Golden Rule has been worded in different ways over the years. However it’s said, it means you should treat others the way you would like to be treated.

That idea wasn’t called “The Golden Rule” until the early 17th Century. But you can find it in many older books. It shows up in the Jewish Torah, the Christian Bible, and the Islamic Quran. One of the first examples is in a text written by Confucius.

Have you ever heard of Confucius? He lived many years ago, but he’s still one of the most well-known philosophers today! He may be one of the most quoted people in history.

Little is known about Confucius’s life. He was born in China in 551 B.C.E. and was also called Kong Qui or K’ung Fu-tzu. He’s remembered as a philosopher today. But during his life, Confucius was also a teacher and political figure. 

Confucius thought education should be for all people. This made him stand out in ancient China. At that time, it was mostly royal and wealthy families that educated their children. But Confucius believed everyone should be able to learn about the world and improve themselves.

In politics, Confucius set his humanist ideas into action. He quickly learned that many people in power weren’t ready for his ideas. Confucius left his home state at 56. He wandered through China looking for other places he could help. Several of his students followed him.

When he returned home, Confucius was 67. He continued teaching. This is also when Confucius did much of his writing. Today, many people learn about Confucius by reading The Analects. That’s where Confucius’s version of The Golden Rule shows up. It says, “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.”

Parts of The Analects were written by Confucius. Other parts were written by his students after his death in 479 B.C.E. It was also after his death that Confucius’s ideas became known as Confucianism. Today, Confucianism influences many people across the world. It is most common in Asian cultures

What exactly is Confucianism? Is it a religion? Well, not exactly. Confucianism is more like a way to look at the world. It pushes people to have self-discipline and a love for humanity. Confucianism also says people should honor their elders and ancestors.

What do you think of Confucius’s ideas? Some of them, like The Golden Rule, may sound familiar. They’re a lot like many moral codes people follow today! What about the rules you live by? Are they anything like what Confucius believed?

Standards: C3.D2.His.4, C3.D2.His.5, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.1

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrowy’s Wonder of the Day may leave you with more questions than answers!