Born in the Lu state of China around 551 B.C.E. during a period of moral decline, Confucius brought to his society a vitally needed moral renaissance that to this day inspires us to practice harmonious and just living. Accounts of his childhood vary, but what is known for sure is that he became a multi-faceted teacher, politican, and philosopher. His sayings and dialogues — collected into Analects by his students after his death — revived the values of self-discipline and benevolence.

His birthday falls on the 27th day of the eighth lunar month of the Chinese calendar and is celebrated in Taiwan on September 28. This holiday begins with a dawn ceremony, parts of which date back nearly 3,000 years. Ritual dances, costumes, and ceremonial music known as "The Sound of Peace" pay respect to this teacher whose life and wisdom benefited both individuals and society.

According to Michael Shuman, author of Confucius, "There is a timelessness, a universality to the teachings of Confucius that holds meaning whatever your nationality, ethnicity, or religion. Confucius is a man who is as important for the future as he has been in the past." We see this relevance when Confucius writes, "When the perfect order prevails, the world is like a home shared by all." He envisioned a world of peace, with music and literature as its gateways.


"Fix your mind on truth, hold firm to virtue, rely on loving kindness, and find your recreation in the arts."
— Confucius in The Analects

"Coarse rice to eat, water to drink, my bended arm for a pillow — therein is happiness. Wealth and rank attained through immoral means are nothing but drifting clouds."
— Confucius in The Analects

"He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it."
— Confucius in The Analects

Spiritual Practices

This quote also comes from The Analects: "The noble-minded have nine states of mind: for eyes, bright; for ears, penetrating; for countenance; cordial; for demeanor, humble; for words, trustworthy; for service, reverent; for doubt, questioning; for anger, circumspect; and for facing a chance to profit, moral." Choose one of these nine states to cultivate today.