Confucius teachings inspired centuries of philosophy. They are an integral part of Chinese education and teach us so much about inner peace and happiness.
Before we list Confucius teachings, let’s first talk about the biography of this legendary philosopher.
Who was Confucius?
Confucius was a Chinese philosopher in 6th Century BCE who became a legendary figure throughout the ages. So much so that it is difficult to separate the man from the myth.
Similar to Aristotle, Confucius is known as one of the first teachers in the ancient domain. He taught the importance and significance of living a virtuous and moral life, and the effect it can have on the world around you.
Confucius teachings founded Confucianism, which studies the practical questions of morality and ethics. It questions how man should live in order to master his environment so as to live in moral harmony. This moral harmony starts with inner peace.
The Confucian Classics are made up of four books: Analytics, Mencius, Great Learning, and Mean. Confucius teachings are typically made up of short sentences which are difficult to interpret, but, with the right understanding, these teachings will start your journey to inner peace.
These are five of the most prolific Confucius teachings which are guaranteed to aid you on your journey to reach inner peace.
“It does not matter how slow you go, as long as you do not stop”
We tend to put pressure on ourselves when we strive for something or have a particular goal in mind. We try to move too fast when we are struggling and it can cause more stress than it cures, leading us to burnouts.
Confucius teaches that the time constraints we put on ourselves to achieve something are unimportant. What is important is that we do not stop, that we take our time. What is most important, though, is that we do not give up. We must keep going, no matter how long it takes us to reach our goal. Just keep moving forward. When we get to our goals, calmly and at our own pace, peace and happiness will follow.
“What you do not want done to you, do not do to others”
We can forget that our actions can cause hurt and bad feeling in others and we think only of ourselves. It may not be on purpose, but it’s natural to be selfish sometimes. We don’t think of the consequences of our actions.
This particular one of Confucius teachings is the foundation of the concept of Karma. What we do comes back to us in other ways. Do not hurt others if you do not want to be hurt yourself, and likewise, enact kindness onto others and you will receive kindness in return.
“When anger rises, think of the consequences”
When we get angry, we naturally follow our instincts. This can get us into a lot of trouble because anger can cloud our judgement. When angry, we tend to act rashly and this can hurt others, either physically or emotionally.
To follow Confucius teachings to inner peace, we must learn not to act on our impulses. Take a deep breath and think through the consequences of your actions. Getting angry and lashing out will always make things worse. Think rationally about what you would like the consequences to be and take the action which gets you there.
Every time you focus on and achieve positive outcomes, even when the stimulus is negative, you will move towards inner peace.
“The more a man meditates on good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large”
We tend to overthink things as a natural reaction to stress and anxiety. Seeing things as worse than they are and having negative thoughts can take over the good and affect other areas of life.
To achieve good things, we must think good things. The more we focus on the good, the better the world around us will be. This positivity will not only improve our own lives but also the lives of others. A simple smile can change a person’s day. Even if your smile will change a person’s moment, it is worth it to wear a smile and improve the world.
Bring peace to yourself, and you will, in turn, bring peace to others.
“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated”
Life always feels complicated. We focus on the complications and we look for complications where there may not necessarily be any. When we overthink perhaps simple situations, we can make them into something much more complicated than they really are.
If we truly wish to follow Confucius teachings to inner peace, we must stop making things complicated when they do not have to be. Confucius tells us that life is simple. Instead of making things complicated, we must try to enjoy the simplicity of life. Rather than looking for the complex solution, perhaps understand that you may have a simple problem. By focussing on the simplicity of life, life will become much more peaceful.
Confucius teachings and their influences are still visible in contemporary Chinese culture. His philosophy pursues family relationships, respect, and moral harmony to create a government and world which lives in such harmony. To live in a peaceful world, we must first find peace in ourselves.