By Max L. Knowles
BeeOasis Step 4
The teacher spoke his mind. He told the truth as he saw it, and this apparently offended leaders who had great power. And so, the teacher, whose name was Confucius, was forced into exile. He had to leave the state of Lu with his disciples, and they wandered from state to state looking for a ruler to serve.
Again and again, the leaders of the kingdoms in China turned him away. By the time they reached the state of Chen, they had no food and were suffering from sickness. One of the disciples, named Zi Lu, looked at the group of men and spoke to Confucius: “So a good person can indeed become poor!”
Confucius agreed. “Yes,” he said. “A righteous person will guard his virtue even when he is poor. A wicked person will do anything to escape poverty.”
This story shows that Confucius believed in doing the right thing at all times, and in setting the right example for others to do the right thing.
We mostly know about Confucius from a book written by Sima Qian. The book is entitled Records of the Grand Historian. The Chinese title is ShiJi. But this book was written 500 years after Confucius’ birth in 551 BCE (before the Common Era), so most of it is probably legend.
It is believed that Confucius was born in the state of Lu, in what is now the Shandong Province. When Confucius was 50 years old, the Duke of the province invited him to become Minister of Public Works, then Minister of Crime. But as mentioned above, Confucius offended some of the leaders of the state of Lu, or perhaps even the Duke himself. So Confucius went into exile.
He returned in 484 BCE and spent the rest of his life teaching and writing. The famous sayings of Confucius are collected in a book called the Analects of Confucius. These sayings were not written by Confucius himself but were gathered together by his disciples and their students. The Analects tell us how Confucius thought a society should work.