Many people will be familiar with the phrase “Only do unto others what you want done to yourself”. It is an ancient principle attributed to a Chinese philosopher called Confucius. He championed several moral values such as venerating ancestors, staying loyal to family and respecting ones elders.

Confucius lived during the Spring and Autumn period of China. During his lifetime many of the ideals which he held dear had been abandoned by East Asian society. However, he managed to transmit them once more to the masses. His various philosophical principles are referred to as Confucianism by scholars. They are underpinned by morality of both the individual and the government.

Followers of him will often focus on being just, kind and truthful. Interestingly there are far more people who believe in his values today. During the lifetime of Confucius he often found it difficult to spread his personal philosophy. After his death students of Confucianism were suppressed by the Qin dynasty. When Qin collapsed a new government officially sanctioned the thoughts of Confucius. Throughout both the Tang and Song dynasties his values formed the basis of a new system called Neo-Confucianism. This movement has influenced Chinese culture to this day.

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