Confucius [551-479 BC], though of noble descent, was born in humble circumstances. He believed that politics is only an extension of morals, and spent ten years travelling through the various states of China spreading his ideas. When he realised that there was no way of converting the feudal rulers to his way of thinking he returned to Lu and spent the rest of his life there teaching his pupils. D.C Lau has held a number of professorships in the field of Chinese language and literature.
'The Master said, "If a man sets his heart on benevolence, he will be free from evil"'
The Analects are a collection of Confucius's sayings brought together by his pupils shortly after his death in 497 BC. Together they express a philosophy, or a moral code, by which Confucius believed everyone should live. Upholding the ideals of wisdom, self-knowledge, courage and love of one's fellow man, he argued that the pursuit of virtue should be every individual's supreme goal. And, while following the Way, or the truth, might not result in immediate or material gain, Confucius showed that it could nevertheless bring its own powerful and lasting spiritual rewards.
Translated with an Introduction and Notes by D. C. Lau