Confucius was a Chinese philosopher who lived from 551 BC – 479 BC. Although he is usually listed as the author of The Analects ( wise sayings ), it was actually a group of his followers, years after his death, who wrote down his words and descriptions of his daily life. The philosophy of Confucius emphasized morality, "the proprieties" - correctness of social relationships - as well as justice and sincerity. A major goal of his conversations was to get his disciples to think deeply for themselves by relentless study of the world. Confucius' values gained prominence in China over all other doctrines and, in time, his thoughts were developed into a system of philosophy known as "Confucianism." It is difficult for people outside China to realize just how great an influence Confucius has had on Chinese thought. To his day, even in Communist China, there are temples to Confucius in almost every city and every year spectacular memorial ceremonies are held honoring Confucius and his philosophy.
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