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Qufu-Hometown of Confucius


Qufu (Qūfù 曲阜) is a city in Shandong Province, China. It is located about 130 km south of the provincial capital Jinan (jì nán 济南) and 45 km northeast of the sub-provincial city Jining (jì níng 济宁). Qufu has an urban population of about 60,000, the entire administrative region has about 650,000 inhabitants.
Qufu is the birthplace of Confucius; it served as the capital of the State of Lu (lǔ guó 鲁国) during the Spring and Autumn Period (chūn qiū shí qī 春秋时期). Qufu contains numerous historic palaces, temples and cemeteries. Many of the major cultural sites in the city are all associated with Confucius, such as the three sites of the Temple of Confucius (kǒng miào 孔庙), the Cemetery of Confucius (kǒng lín 孔林), and the Kong Family Mansion (kǒng fǔ 孔府). The Qufu complex of monuments have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1994.

Qufu also played a minor role in the Yanzhou Campaign (yǎn zhōu zhàn yì 兖州战役) of the Chinese Communists in 1948.
qufuConfucius (Kǒng zǐ 孔子), literally "Master Kong”, (traditionally September 28, 551 BCE – 479 BCE) was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher, whose teachings and philosophy have deeply influenced Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese thought and life.
His philosophy emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. These values gained prominence in China over other doctrines, such as Legalism (fǎ jiā 法家) or Taoism (dào jiā 道家) during the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE). Confucius' thoughts have been developed into a system of philosophy known as Confucianism (rú jiā 儒家). It was introduced to Europe by the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci, who was the first to Latinise the name as "Confucius."
His teachings may be found in the Analects of Confucius (lùn yǔ 论语), a collection of "brief aphoristic fragments", which was compiled many years after his death. For nearly 2,000 years he was thought to be the editor or author of all the Five Classics (wǔ jīng 五经) such as the Classic of Rites (lǐ jì 礼记) (editor), and the Spring and Autumn Annals (chūn qiū 春秋) (author).
qufuKong Qiu (kǒng qiū 孔丘), as Confucius is commonly known, is a combination of his surname (kǒng 孔) and his given name (qiū 丘), and he was also known as Zhong Ni (zhòng ní 仲尼), which is his courtesy name. He was born in 551 BCE in the Lu state (lǔ guó 鲁国) (This state was in the south of modern-day Shandong Province) in the later days of the Spring and Autumn Period (chūn qiū shí qī 春秋时期). Confucius was from a warrior family. His father Shulianghe (shū liáng gē 叔梁纥) was a famous warrior who had military exploits in two battles and owned a fiefdom. Confucius lost his father when he was three years old, and then his mother Yan Zhengzai (yán zhēng zài 顏徵在) took him and left the fiefdom because as a concubine (qiè 妾), she wanted to avoid mistreatment from Shulianghe's formal wife. Thus, Confucius lived in poverty with his mother since childhood. With the support and encouragement of his mother, Confucius was very diligent in his studies. When Confucius was seventeen years old, his mother died as a result of illness and overwork. Three years later, Confucius married a young woman who was from the Qiguan family (qí guān shì 齐官氏) of the Song state (sòng 宋). Though he had a mild tempered wife who loved him, he left his family to strive for his ideals. Confucius sought to revive the perfect virtue of Huaxia (huá xià 华夏) and the classical properties of the Western Zhou Dynasty to build a great, harmonious and humanistic society.
qufuIn the Analects (lùn yǔ 论语), Confucius presents himself as a "transmitter who invented nothing". He puts the greatest emphasis on the importance of study, and it is the Chinese character for study (or learning) that opens the text. In this respect, he is seen by Chinese people as the Greatest Master. Far from trying to build a systematic theory of life and society or establish a formalism of rites, he wanted his disciples to think deeply for themselves and relentlessly study the outside world, mostly through the old scriptures and by relating the moral problems of the present to past political events (like the Annals) or past expressions of feelings by common people and reflective members of the elite, preserved in the poems of the Book of Odes (shī jīng 诗经).

In times of division, chaos, and endless wars between feudal states, he wanted to restore the Mandate of Heaven (tiān mìng 天命) that could unify the "world" (tiān xià 天下, all under Heaven) and bestow peace and prosperity on the people. Because his vision of personal and social perfections was framed as a revival of the ordered society of earlier times, Confucius is often considered a great proponent of conservatism, but a closer look at what he proposes often shows that he used (and perhaps twisted) past institutions and rites to push a new political agenda of his own: a revival of a unified royal state, whose rulers would succeed to power on the basis of their moral merits instead of lineage; these would be rulers devoted to their people, striving for personal and social perfection. Such a ruler would spread his own virtues to the people instead of imposing proper behavior with laws and rules.
qufuOne of the deepest teachings of Confucius may have been the superiority of personal exemplification over explicit rules of behavior. His moral teachings emphasized self-cultivation, emulation of moral exemplars, and the attainment of skilled judgment rather than knowledge of rules, Confucius's ethics may be considered a type of virtue ethics. His teachings rarely rely on reasoned argument, and ethical ideals and methods are conveyed more indirectly, through allusions, innuendo, and even tautology. This is why his teachings need to be examined and put into proper context in order to be understood. A good example is found in this famous anecdote:
廊焚。子退朝,曰:“伤人乎?” 不问马。
When the stables were burnt down, on returning from court, Confucius said, 'Was anyone hurt?' He did not ask about the horses. (Analects X.11, tr. Arthur Waley )
The passage conveys the lesson that by not asking about the horses, Confucius demonstrated that a sage values human beings over property; readers of this lesson are led to reflect on whether their response would follow Confucius's, and to pursue ethical self-improvement if it would not. Confucius, an exemplar of human excellence, serves as the ultimate model, rather than a deity or a universally true set of abstract principles. For these reasons, according to many Eastern and Western commentators, Confucius's teaching may be considered a Chinese example of humanism.

Perhaps his most famous teaching was the Golden Rule stated in the negative form, often called the Silver Rule:

Zi gong (zǐ gòng 子贡) (a disciple of Confucius) asked: "Is there any one word that could guide a person throughout life?"
The Master replied: "How about 'shu' [reciprocity]: never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself?" (Analects XV.24, tr. David Hinton)

Confucius's teachings were later turned into an elaborate set of rules and practices by his numerous disciples and followers who organized his teachings into the Analects. In the centuries after his death, Mencius (mèng zǐ 孟子) and Xun Zi (xún zǐ 荀子) both composed important teachings elaborating in different ways on the fundamental ideas associated with Confucius. In time, their writings, together with the Analects and other core texts came to constitute the philosophical corpus known in the West as Confucianism. After more than a thousand years, the scholar Zhu Xi (zhū xī 朱熹) created a very different interpretation of Confucianism which is now called Neo-Confucianism, to distinguish it from the ideas expressed in the Analects. Neo-Confucianism held sway in China, Korea, and Vietnam until the 1800s.

Main article: Confucianism

qufuAlthough Confucianism is often followed in a religious manner by the Chinese, arguments continue over whether it is a religion. Confucianism does not lack an afterlife, the texts express simple views concerning Heaven, and is relatively unconcerned with some spiritual matters often considered essential to religious thought, such as the nature of the soul.
Confucius' principles gained wide acceptance primarily because of their basis in common Chinese tradition and belief. He championed strong familial loyalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders by their children (and, according to later interpreters, of husbands by their wives), and the family as a basis for an ideal government. He expressed the well-known principle, "Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself" (One of the earliest versions of the Golden Rule). He also looked nostalgically upon earlier days, and urged the Chinese, particularly those with political power, to model themselves on earlier examples.
Because no texts survive that are demonstrably authored by Confucius, and the ideas most closely associated with him were elaborated in writings that accumulated over the period between his death and the foundation of the first Chinese empire in 221 BCE, many scholars are very cautious about attributing specific assertions to Confucius himself.


qufuThe Confucian theory of ethics as exemplified in Lǐ (礼) is based on three important conceptual aspects of life: ceremonies associated with sacrifice to ancestors and deities of various types, social and political institutions, and the etiquette of daily behavior. It was believed by some that lǐ originated from the heavens. Confucius's view was more nuanced. His approach stressed the development of lǐ through the actions of sage leaders in human history, with less emphasis on its connection with heaven. His discussions of lǐ seem to redefine the term to refer to all actions committed by a person to build the ideal society, rather than those simply conforming with canonical standards of ceremony. In the early Confucian tradition, lǐ, though still linked to traditional forms of action, came to point towards the balance between maintaining these norms so as to perpetuate an ethical social fabric, and violating them in order to accomplish ethical good. These concepts are about doing the proper thing at the proper time, and are connected to the belief that training in the lǐ that past sages have devised cultivates in people virtues that include ethical judgment about when lǐ must be adapted in light of situational contexts.qufu

In early Confucianism, yì (義) and lǐ are closely linked terms. Yì can be translated as righteousness, though it may simply mean what is ethically best to do in a certain context. The term contrasts with action done out of self-interest. While pursuing one's own self-interest is not necessarily bad, one would be a better, more righteous person if one based one's life upon following a path designed to enhance the greater good, an outcome of yì. This is doing the right thing for the right reason. Yì is based upon reciprocity.

qufuJust as action according to Lǐ should be adapted to conform to the aspiration of adhering to yì, so yì is linked to the core value of rén (仁). Rén is the virtue of perfectly fulfilling one's responsibilities toward others, most often translated as "benevolence" or "humaneness"; translator Arthur Waley calls it "Goodness" (with a capital G), and other translations that have been put forth include "authoritativeness" and "selflessness." Confucius's moral system was based upon empathy and understanding others, rather than divinely ordained rules. To develop one's spontaneous responses of rén so that these could guide action intuitively was even better than living by the rules of yì. To cultivate one's attentiveness to rén one used another Confucian version of the Golden Rule: one must always treat others just as one would want others to treat oneself. Virtue, in this Confucian view, is based upon harmony with other people, produced through this type of ethical practice by a growing identification of the interests of self and other.
In this regard, Confucius articulated an early version of the Golden Rule:
"What one does not wish for oneself, one ought not to do to anyone else; what one recognises as desirable for oneself, one ought to be willing to grant to others." (Confucius and Confucianism, Richard Wilhelm)


Confucius' political thought is based upon his ethical thought. He argues that the best government is one that rules through "rites" (lǐ) and people's natural morality, rather than by using bribery and coercion. He explained that this is one of the most important analects: 1. "If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame. If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought to be given them by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of the shame, and moreover will become good." (Translated by James Legge) in the Great Learning (dà xué 大学). This "sense of shame" is an internalisation of duty, where the punishment precedes the evil action, instead of following it in the form of laws as in Legalism.
While he supported the idea of government by an all-powerful sage, ruling as an Emperor, probably because of the chaotic state of China at his time, his ideas contained a number of elements to limit the power of rulers. He argued for according language with truth; thus honesty was of paramount importance. Even in facial expression, truth must always be represented. In discussing the relationship between a king and his subject (or a father and his son), he underlined the need to give due respect to superiors. This demanded that the inferior must give advice to his superior if the superior was considered to be taking the wrong course of action. This was built upon a century after Confucius's death by his latter day disciple Mencius, who argued that if the king was not acting like a king, he would lose the Mandate of Heaven and be overthrown. Therefore, tyrannicide is justified because a tyrant is more a thief than a king. Other Confucian texts, though celebrating absolute rule by ethical sages, recogonize the failings of real rulers in maxims such as, "An oppressive government is more feared than a tiger."
Some well known Confucian quotes:

"To know your faults and be able to change is the greatest virtue."

"What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others."

"With coarse rice to eat, with water to drink, and my crooked arm for a pillow - is not joy to be found therein? Riches and honors acquired through unrighteousness are to me as the floating clouds."

"Knowledge is recognizing what you know and what you don't."

"Reviewing the day's lessons. Isn't it joyful? Friends come from far. Isn't it delightful? One has never been angry at other's misunderstanding. Isn't he a respectable man?"

Influence in Asia and Europe
qufuConfucius's works are studied by many scholars in many other Asian countries, particularly those in the Sinosphere, such as Korea, Japan and Vietnam. Many of those countries still hold the traditional memorial ceremony every year.
The works of Confucius were translated into European languages through the agency of Jesuit scholars stationed in China. Matteo Ricci started to report on the thoughts of Confucius, and father Prospero Intorcetta published the life and works of Confucius into Latin in 1687. It is thought that such works had considerable importance on European thinkers of the period, particularly among the Deists and other philosophical groups of the Enlightenment who were interested by the integration of the system of morality of Confucius into Western civilization.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believes Confucius was a Divine Prophet of God, as was Lao-Tzu and other eminent Chinese personages.



Temple of Confucius (kǒng miào 孔庙)
Within two years after the death of Confucius, his former house in Qufu was already consecrated as a temple by the Prince of Lu (lǔ 鲁). In 205 BC, Emperor Gao of the Han Dynasty (hàn gāo zǔ 汉高祖) was the first emperor to offer sacrifices to the memory of Confucius in Qufu. He set an example for many emperors and high officials to follow. Later, emperors would visit Qufu after their enthronement or on important occasions such as a successful war. In total, 12 different emperors paid 20 personal visits to Qufu to worship Confucius. About 100 others sent their deputies for 196 official visits. The original three-room house of Confucius was removed from the temple complex during a rebuilding undertaken in 611 AD. In 1012 and in 1094, during the Song Dynasty (sòng cháo 宋朝), the temple was extended into a design with three sections and four courtyards, around which eventually more than 400 rooms were arranged. Fire and vandalism destroyed the temple in 1214, during the Jin Dynasty (jìn dài 晋代). It was restored to its former extent by the year 1302 during the Yuan Dynasty (yuán dài 元代). Shortly thereafter, in 1331, the temple was framed in an enclosure wall modelled on the Imperial palace. After another devastation by fire in 1499, the temple was finally restored to its present scale. However, further additions to the buildings and the decorations were made. In total, the Temple of Confucius has undergone 15 major renovations, 31 large repairs, and numerous small building measures.

The temple complex is the second largest historical building complex in China (after the Forbidden City), it covers an area of 16,000 square metres and has a total of 460 rooms. Because the last major redesign following the fire in 1499 took place shortly after the building of the Forbidden City in the Ming Dynasty (míng cháo 明朝), the architecture of the Temple of Confucius resembles that of the Forbidden City in many ways. The main part of the temple consists of 9 courtyards arranged on a central axis, which is oriented in the north-south qufudirection and is 1.3 km in length. The first three courtyards have small gates and are planted with tall pine trees, they serve an introductory function. The first (southernmost) gate is named Lingxing Gate (míng cháo 棂星门) after a star in the Great Bear constellation, the name suggests that Confucius is a star from heaven. The buildings in the remaining courtyards form the heart of the complex. They are impressive structures with yellow roof-tiles (otherwise reserved for the emperor) and red-painted walls, they are surrounded by dark-green pine trees to create a color contrast with complementary colors. The main buildings are the Stela Pavilions (e.g., Jin and Yuan Dynasties, 1115–1368), the Kuiwen Hall (kuí wén gé 奎文阁) (built in 1018, restored in 1504 during the Ming Dynasty and in 1985), the Xing Tan Pavilion (Xìng Tán 杏坛), the Dacheng Hall (dà chéng diàn 大成殿) (built in the Qing Dynasty), and the Hall of Confucius' Wife.

The Dacheng Hall is the architectural center of the present day complex. The hall covers an area of 54 by 34 m and stands slightly less than 32 m tall.It is supported by 28 richly decorated pillars, each 6 m high and 0.8 m in diameter and carved in one piece out of local rock. The 10 columns on the front side of the hall are decorated with coiled dragons. It is said that these columns were covered during visits by the emperor in order not to arouse his envy. Dacheng Hall served as the principal place for offering sacrifices to the memory of Confucius. In the center of the courtyard in front of Dacheng Hall stands the "Apricot Platform", which commemorates Confucius teaching his students under an apricot tree. Each year at Qufu and at many other Confucian temples a ceremony is held on September 28 to commemorate Confucius' birthday.

The artifacts of the historical sites at Qufu suffered extensive damage during the Cultural Revolution when about 200 staff members and students of Beijing Normal University came to Qufu and destroyed more than 6000 artifacts in November 1966.

Cemetery of Confucius (kǒng lín 孔林)
qufuThe Cemetery of Confucius lies to the north of the town of Qufu, the oldest graves found in this location date back to the Zhou Dynasty (zhōu cháo 周朝). The original tomb erected here in memory of Confucius on the bank of the Sishui (sì shuǐ 泗水) River had the shape of an axe. In addition, it had a brick platform for sacrifices. The present-day tomb is a cone-shaped hill. Tombs for the descendants of Confucius and additional stela to commemorate him were soon added around Confucius' tomb. Since Confucius' descendants were conferred noble titles and were given imperial princesses as wives, many of the tombs in the cemetery show the status symbols of noblemen. Tombstones came in use during the Han Dynasty, today, there are about 3,600 tombstones dating from the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties still standing in the cemetery. In 1331 construction work began on the wall and gate of the cemetery. In total, the cemetery has undergone 13 renovations and extensions.

qufuEventually, by the late 18th century, the perimeter wall reached a length of 7.5 km, enclosing an area of 3.6 square kilometers. In this space, the tombs of more than 100,000 descendants of Confucius, who have been buried there over a period of about 2000 years, can be found. The oldest graves date back to the Zhou Dynasty, the most recent of which belong to descendants in the 76th and 78th generation. The corpse of the duke of Qufu in the 76th was removed from its grave and hung naked from a tree in front of the palace during the desecration of the cemetery in the Cultural Revolution. More than 10,000 mature trees give the cemetery a forest-like appearance. A road runs from the north gate of Qufu to the exterior gate of the cemetery in a straight line. It is 1266 m in length and lined by cypresses and pine trees. Along this road lies the Yan Temple, dedicated to Confucius' favorite student.

Kong family mansion (kǒng fǔ 孔府) 
Tqufuhe descendants of Confucius lived in the Kong family mansion located to the east of the temple. They were in charge of tending to the temple and cemetery. In particular, they were in charge of conducting elaborate religious ceremonies on occasions such as plantings, harvests, honoring the dead, and birthdays. The Kong family was in control of the largest private rural estate in China. The first mansion was built in 1038 during the Song dynasty and was originally connected directly to the temple. During a rebuilding in 1377 directed by the first Ming dynasty Emperor, it was moved a short distance away from the temple. In 1503, it was expanded into three rows of buildings with 560 rooms and - like the Confucius Temple - 9 courtyards. The mansion underwent a complete renovation in 1838 only to perish in a fire 47 years later in 1887. It was rebuilt two years later; the cost of both 19th century renovations was covered by the Emperor. qufu
Today, the mansion comprises 152 buildings with 480 rooms, which cover an area of 12,470 square meters. The family mansion was inhabited by descendants of Confucius until 1937, when Confucius' descendant in the 76th and 77th generations fled to Chongqing (zhòng qìng 重庆) during the Second Sino-Japanese War and later during the Chinese Civil War to Taiwan, where the head of the family still resides.
The layout of the mansion is traditionally Chinese, it separates official rooms in the front from the residential quarters in the rear. Furthermore, the spatial distribution of the buildings according to the seniority, gender, and status of their inhabitants reflects the Confucian principle of order and hierarchy: The most senior descendant of Confucius took up residence in the central of the three main buildings; his younger brother occupied the Yi Gun hall to the east.

Admission Fee:
 CNY 150 for all the sites.
How to go: You can first go to Yanzhou, then take a train to Qufu at Yanzhou Train Station. Also, you can take a train passing by Qufu like K51,2151,4905 to get to Qufu. When you get off the train, you can take bus NO.1,5 or a tricycle to get the Confucius.

Click here for China Travel Service to get more information.


Last Updated on Friday, 09 April 2010 20:57

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