Though the ancient texts there were regarded by some as irrelevant relics of the past, Confucius was inspired by them. Through study and reflection,
Confucius came to believe that human character is formed in the family and by education in ritual, literature, and history. A person cultivated in this way works to help others, guiding them by moral inspiration rather than brute force. To put his philosophy into practice, Confucius became an advisor to the ruler of his home state of Lu.
But after another state sent Lu’s ruler a troop of dancing girls as a present and the ruler ignored his duties while enjoying the girls in private, Confucius resigned in disgust. He then spent the next few years traveling from state to state, trying to find a worthy ruler to serve, while holding fast to his principles.
但是在其他国送了鲁国掌权者 一大批美丽的舞女后，鲁国的掌权者便开始玩忽职守， 整天沉浸于美色。孔子因而辞职。接下来的几年， 孔子周游列国，期望找到值得他跟随的主公，同时也宣扬着他的理念。
It wasn’t easy. In accordance with his philosophy, and contrary to the practice of the time, Confucius dissuaded rulers from relying on harsh punishments and military power to govern their lands, because he believed that a good ruler inspires others to spontaneously follow him by virtue of his ethical charisma.
这个过程是艰巨的。他的理念与当时 普罗大众的想法背道而驰。孔子试着劝告掌权者不要以 严厉的惩处和军事刑罚来管制他们的国家，因为他相信一位好的统治者是依靠他的美德和人格魅力让其他的人愿意追随他。
Confucius also believed that because the love and respect we learn in the family are fundamental to all other virtues, personal duties to family sometimes supersede obligations to the state.
So when one duke bragged that his subjects were so upright that a son testified against his own father when his father stole a sheep, Confucius informed the duke that genuinely upright fathers and sons protected one another. During his travels, Confucius almost starved, he was briefly imprisoned, and his life was threatened at several points. But he was not bitter.
Confucius had faith that heaven had a plan for the world, and he taught that a virtuous person could always find joy in learning and music. Failing to find the ruler he sought, Confucius returned to Lu and became a teacher and philosopher so influential, that he helped shaped Chinese culture and we recognize his name worldwide, even today.
For the disciples of Confucius, he was the living embodiment of a sage who leads others through his virtue, and they recorded his sayings, which eventually were edited into a book we know in English as “ The Analects. “
Today, millions of people worldwide adhere to the principles of Confucianism, and though the precise meaning of his words has been debated for millennia, when asked to summarize his teachings in a single phrase, Confucius himself said, “ Do not inflict upon others that which you yourself would not want. “ 2, 500 years later, it’s still sage advice.