Confucius (2010)





Director:     Mei Hu.

Starring:     Yun-Fat Chow (Confucius), Xun Zhou (Nanzi), Yi Lu (Ji Sunfei), Jianbin Chen (Ji Sunsi), Lu Yao (Lu Jun), Zhenyu Qiao (Son of Confucius), Ran Chen, Quan Ren (Yan Hui), Ban Wang (Shu Sunwu), Kaili Zhang, Huang Jiao.

Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-479 BC) developed an ethical and philosophical system that in the Han Dynasty developed metaphysical and cosmological elements


Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film.

Confucius has a group of disciples that learn from him.  He says that he's old.  He thinks back to the reign of the Duke of Zhou. 

Flashback.  Yan Hui, disciple of Confucius.  Kingdom of Lu, the ruler's palace.  Yan Hui, leads the oxen that pull the wagon in which Confucius sits.  At the palace they ask Confucius:  "Are you Master Kong Qiu, the mayor of Zhongdu?"  Kong Qiu (Confucius) replies:  "Indeed, I am."

"During Ding's reign, power in the Kingdom of Lu has devolved to three aristocratic clans, known as 'The Three Noble Families':  the Jishi, Shushi and Mengshi clans."

Kong Qiu enters the palace.  Lu Dinggong, the ruler, then enters the main room.  The Duke says that since Kong Qiu has been mayor for a year, he has noticed that in Zhongdu the streets are safer, the home more secure.  He says he wants to see these policies applied throughout the Kingdom of Lu!

The Duke says that Lord Ji Yiru Pingzi has recently died and his oldest son Ji Sunsi has become the Prime Minister and the Chief General of the Army.  But the position of Minister of Law is vacant.  He wants Kong Qiu to take this position.  He adds that Kong Qiu and his disciples could civilize the Kingdom of Lu.   Kong Qiu accepts. 

Ji Sunsi, Head of the Jishi Clan and minister in the Court of Lu, in an outdoor ceremony gives out with a loud scream.  This is part of the funeral for Lord Ji Yiru Pingzi.  A large group of women are tied to ropes and pulled along.  They will be buried with their Lord.  Also to be buried are a number of burial slaves.  All of a sudden, a young boy starts running to make his escape from burial.  The boy was Ji Yiru's favorite servant, Qi Sigong.  A group of soldiers start pursuing the young boy. 

The boy reaches the nearest town and runs down the street.  He is hit with a poisoned arrow in the back of his upper left arm.  He throws himself down at the feet of a man asking to be saved.  The man pulls out his sword and stops the pursuing group in their tracks.

The Duke asks Kong Qiu if the Kingdom of Lu could become larger by emulating the Dukedom of Qi to their north?  The master replies that the residents of Qi obey the laws because they are a people who live in fear of harsh punishments.  If the citizens of Lu could learn to respect the law because it is civil and honest with integrity and dignity, they would have the loyalty of the people of Lu.  That would be better than ruling by fear.  "Corruption and thievery --  these evils would simply disappear under honorable rule." 

The gifts, the slave women and others are forced into the tomb of Lord Ji Yiru set within a mountain cave.  Once inside the women and children and others are killed by swordsmen.  One little girl was not stabbed.  Her mother, however, was stabbed.  The little girl realizes that the tomb door is being closed and she runs over to dive under the door coming down.  She is, however, too late.  She bangs on the door and yells to be let out, but it is of no use.  After the candles go out, the little girl is thrust into absolute darkness. 

Kong Qiu arrives at his school.  His wife, Lady Qiguan, can tell he has arrived at school because she can hear his voice.  With mother is daughter Kong Jiao.  Mom has her daughter take a soup to her father.  Kong Jiao is happy to see her back from the palace.  They are interrupted by wooden scroll falling of a shelf.  They all look and see the servant boy Qi Sigong there with his bloody left arm.  The master tells Yan Hui to call quickly for a doctor.  Yan Hui gives the task to one of the disciples. 

Kong Qiu wants to know what's going on?  Disciple Zilu tells the master that the troops of the Ji Family were chasing this small boy and he felt obligated to help the boy, who is a burial slave.  The Ji Family will want the boy back.  The master says that the boy will stay here with them.  Another disciple warns that Lord Ji Sunsi will be very furious. 

A group of Ji soldiers led by Gen. Gongshan Niu, a retainer of the Ji Clan and mayor of Biyi City, are given the order to search the home of Kong Qiu.  Kong Qiu comes out and asks what's this all about?  The General says he has been told that the runaway burial slave is hiding here.  The situation gets very tense, so the General pulls Kong Qiu over to the side and tells him that the two of them should be working together to kick the three clans out of power and rule as one.  Kong Qiu is not interested.  He says:  "Our roads are different."  The infuriated General leaves. 

At an assembly the gentlemen debate over whether an escaped pheasant should be killed in the winter ceremony or be granted its freedom?  Shu Sunwu, head of the Shushi Clan and minister in the Court of Lu, says that the bird's life should be spared.  The decision of the assembly is to release the pheasant in the mountains.  Now Kong Qiu gets up to request an end to the evil ritual of burying living servants with their deceased masters.  He brings in the particular boy slave for the court to see.  It's Qi Sigong, a slave in the house of the Jishi Clan.  The head of the Jishi Clan gets up to say that the boy escaped from his estate and Kong Qiu gave him shelter. 

Kong Qiu pleads with the Duke to show mercy.  "Ritual murder is still murder."  Lord Shu showed compassion towards a pheasant and he wants Shu to show the same compassion toward this wounded boy.  Such a tradition is outdated and should be abandoned. Gen. Gongshan Niu gets up and says that it was Lord Ji Yiru Pingzi's dying wish to have this slave buried with him.  Kong Qiu replies that he heard the Lord say many times that he could not live without Gen. Gongshan.  And since the Lord was so close to the General, the Lord must still need the General now that he has gone on to the next life.  So, if the General will give up his life to be buried with the Lord, then he, Kong Qiu. could have no objections to the death of the slave boy.  This brings great laughter among the men.  The General, once again, becomes infuriated with Kong Qiu, but the great scholar gets a rousing applause from the audience.  And the slave boy is released. 

Kong Qiu and his disciples celebrate the freeing of the boy.  

The Dukedom of Qi.  Minister Li of Qi says that with Kong Qiu among the top advisers to the Duke of Lu, the Dukedom of Lu could become a big threat to the Dukedom of Qi.  Duke Jing of Qi says that for hundreds of years the Dukes of Qi dreamed of conquering Lu.  The minister suggests that they tell the Duke of Lu that they want to construct a new alliance with Lu.  During the ceremony, they will take the Duke of Lu as a hostage.  Then Lu will have to bend to the will of Qi.  The Duke likes the plan.

A formal invitation is send to Lu.  Kong Qiu says this is his first challenge as a minister. The meeting is at Jiagu on the northern border of Lu with Qui.  Kong Qui will send Yan Hui to make sure the repartitions are not being set up with an eye to the advantage of the Dukedom of Qi.  Zilu and Zigong will be the only men on their side to carry swords to the meeting.  "Protect His Majesty, no matter what!"  Ran Qiu will go inspect the platform and the area around it for any hideaway places.

Kong Qui briefs the generals.  The meeting place is a ravine with a dead end.  He wants the generals to be prepared with many war chariots.  The generals says that General Gongshan Nkiu and Minister Ji control the war chariots.  And right now these men are in Biyi holding an archery tournament.  The master says then he will have to pay these men a little visit. 

Kong Qui challenges His Lordship to an archery contest.  If Kong Qui wins the match he asks His Lordship to provide him with 500 army chariots as a show of the power of Lu.  The master says that Zhou Gong said:  "Always back up words with weapons."  Kong Qui deliberately shoots wild with his last arrow, giving the victory to Minister Ji.  The Biyi minister, however, decides to give the 500 war chariots to Kong Qui anyway.  But Gen. Gongshan says that Biyi built up the Lu army and he will not turn it over to be destroyed by Kong Qui.  The deal is off. 

The Duke and Kong Qui ride in the same wagon heading towards the meeting place.  The Duke says to Kong Qui that the Duke of Qi has brought a large detachment of cavalry.  Should he be at all concerned about this?  The master says no.  He announces that their Second Plan will be put into motion.  They proceed onwards. 

They meet at the bottom of the huge and high tower with myriads of steps.  Yan Hui announces that since Lu is guest and Qui is host, Lu asks Qi to come to the bottom of the platform.  The Duke of Qiu finally agrees to come down.  He comes down and then both groups climb up the steps to the platform.  Minister Li says the alliance means that if ever Qui should be at war, Lu will send a contingent of 500 war chariots and crews to the war effort.  Kong Qui uses this opening to make a request himself.  To prove that the alliance is built on sincerity, Lu requests the return of the three cities of Wen Shang that were taken in war with Lu some 30 years ago.  This really shocks the Duke and Minister Li.  The Duke says it can be done.  Minister Li objects strenuously, but it's too late as Kong Qui says:  "A gentleman's word is golden, Your Excellency."

Minister Li now threatens Kong Qiu and the Duke of Lu saying that their guests seem to have no way to leave here.  He points to the huge Qi army coming towards them.   Kong Qiu shoots a smoking arrow into the sky.  He says they have 500 chariots ready to do battle with Qi.  He asks the Qi leaders to look out there.  Hundreds of birds are scared up and away from the area from which a loud roar goes up from the Lu contingent.  A small group of Lu soldiers now come forward in four wagons.  The leader shouts that the advance party is ready to fight with 500 chariots.   He says:  "We await your orders."  The roar of the Lu troops frightens the Duke who now puts all the blame for this on Minister Li.  He tells Li to dismiss the troops. 

The troops are dismissed.  The army turns around and leaves.  The Duke of Qi apologizes to the Duke of Lu.  The Lu contingent now leaves as the men laugh saying that a hundred ox carts scared off an entire Qi army. 

The Kingdom of Wei.  A group of ladies-in-waiting comes running across a meadow shouting to a guard that they can't find their Lady anywhere.  The guard tells them that he has not seen her.  But their Lady, the royal consort of the leader of Wei, is hiding from them nearby behind some trees.  The women agree that this is not good and run elsewhere to try and find their Lady.   The Lady now runs to a corral of horses. 

The Prince of Wei is arguing again with his father, now an older man.  He says that their kingdom is languishing and yet father will not accept any help from him.  The Prince adds that his father lets his female consort make all the decisions.  Dad turns around and sees Nanzi, the royal consort, standing nearby.  He is very happy to see her.  She wants to know what the Prince is all worked up about?  It seems that Gen. Gongshan is seeking asylum in the Wei Kingdom.  She says:  "So Wei is now taking in cast-aways."  The Prince protests, but the consort says that giving the General refuge will bring no benefit to the Kingdom of Wei.  She says that the General was hugely rewarded for his services to the Kingdom of Lu and yet now the man turns his back on those who were so generous to them.  "How can we place our trust in a man like that?"  She adds that the Prince forgets that the kingdoms of Lu and Wei depend on each other for their survival.  She tells the Prince to get out and if there is a next time, the Prince will no longer be a prince.  The Prince leaves.  Nanzi now tells her lover to have Kong Qiu come to Wei to teach the Prince how to think and behave. 

The Duke of Wu is worried that Wei or Qi will try to lure Kong Qui away from Lu and they will lose the master's great talents.  A nobleman says that Kong Qui is nothing but a commoner and is not worthy of rising so high in the Kingdom of Lu.  The Duke agrees that Kong Qui is a commoner, but he is descended from a noble Song family.  And he won back three cities for Lu without sacrificing a single soldier or civilian.  "Commoner or not, his ideals of civility in government are clearly effective."

498 BC.  Confucius becomes Acting Minister of the Interior in the Lu Court.  This starts up a small group of nobles that wish harm to come to Kong Qui. 

Late at night Kong Qiu decides to go to the palace.  He has a plan to tear down the walls surrounding the three clans.  A disciple says the three Noble Families will surely fight him on this issue.  Konq Qui rejects this idea saying that the time has come to curb the power of the three Noble families. 

Kingdom of Lu, the ruler's palace.  Kong Qui says he proposes tearing down the walls of the three cities so the state of Lu will be reunified.  The Duke is very weary of this because it could backfire and bring chaos to the realm. 

The announcement of the plan to raze the three city walls upsets the nobles.  But some nobles say that this plan proposed by Kong Qiu could rebound to against him because for every great victory there is a great loss.  And the big loss for the Duke could be Kong Qui himself.  A noble rushes to Biyi to see Gen. Gongshan. 

A message for Kong Qiu comes from the city of Houyi.  "The rebel general Hou Fan of Shu Sunwu's territory has escaped Houyi.  Shu and Zigao's forces have succeeded in razing their walls."  Kong Qiu says that the rebel general has fled, but he will continue to resist.  It is suggested that they must raze the walls of Biyi before Hou Fan can seek shelter behind Biyi's walls. 

Gen. Gongshan also hears the news and he suddenly realizes that trying to raze the walls of Biyi will leave the capital of Lu undefended!  He says his army will seize the capital.  Moreover, they will kill Kong Qiu and banish the Three Families.

Qufu, capital of the Kingdom of Lu.  Gen Gongshan comes bearing Biyi's payment of taxes to Lu.  But as they near the gate, the soldiers draw their swords from among the stacked bags and attack the capital.  The general shouts to capture the king of Lu, slay Kong Qiu and drive out the Three Families.  But the king has already sought refuge with the Ji family.   

So the General moves his army to attack the walled city of the Ji family.  Kong Qiu starts banging the drum to arouse the Ji forces.  Now the forces of Ji turn over huge pots of flaming oil down their walls of the Wuzi Platform and onto Gen. Gongshan's army.  Many soldiers are immediately burned to death, while many others catch on fire.  The enemy is routed and must run a gauntlet of arrows from cross bows. 

News arrives that the army of Gongshan was defeated at the Wuzi Platform.  And now the army of Lu is released against the remaining forces of Gongshan.  As Gongshan and the remainder of his troops rush out of the walled city, they realize they are surrounded by an entire army.  Gongshan immediately cuts his own throat with his sword.  His men lay down their arms and sit or kneel on the ground. 

After this the remaining walls of the walled cities are razed to the ground. 

A man asks the Prime Minister why the nobles are idly sitting by as all the conquered lands are given to the ruler of Lu and Kong Qiu?   

Kong Qui comes to see the Prime Minister. 

Outside the walls of Biyi City.  The forces of Qi are only about 30 miles from the border with Lu.  The Duke of Qi sent an ambassador bearing gifts to the Duke of Lu: 80 dancing girls and more than 100 horses.  In return, the ambassador asks that Kong Qiu be dismissed. 

Konq Qiu asks the Duke of Lu why are they going to abandon the third city, while the walls of two of the cities have been razed to the ground?  The Duke says 30,000 Qi soldier are ready to invade Lu.  If they form an alliance with Chengyi, Lu will be surrounded.  Moreover, if the three Noble Families join with Qi, the Duke of Lu will be no more.   So the Duke is in no mood to listen to the advise of Kong Qiu. 

Kong Qiu dreams of talking with the revered Laozi teach.  Laozi tells him:  "Kong Qiu, these times are out of sorts.  Chaos is everywhere.  But still you go your own way teaching benevolence and harmony.  . . . you must stop trying. . . . Maybe no contribution is the true contribution."  Kong Qiu says he has to try to make a contribution.  He has to follow his own path.  Laozi says:  "Then you must learn to tolerate man's many errors."

The Prime Minister Gong Boliao says that this year Kong Qiu will receive none of the sacrificial meat that is traditionally distributed among the noble and officials.  Kong Qiu's son goes to the Prime Minister and says his father wants to see the king.   The Prime Minister says the king is to busy now.  He gives the son something wrapped in blue cloth.  The son gives the item to his father and Konq Qiu is taken aback.  It is a parted jade circle.  The philosopher says:  "It's a farewell.  Our union is over."

With two horses and a cart Kong Qiu goes into exile.  He starts his exile in the pouring rain.  Trying to pull on his horses to get a wheel out of a rut, Kong Qiu falls into a large puddle.  He is shocked, but lays there and starts laughing heartily. 

Kong Qiu runs into Yan Hui.  The young man explains that he has been and will always follow the master.  Kong Qui says he himself doesn't know where he's going.  He tells Yan Hui to go back home and get a position in the court.  Yan Hui says he will not.  He says that it was a mistake for the master to put so much faith in the ruler of Lu.  While the two men talk, a good sized group of the master's disciples arrive to travel with Kong Qiu.  The boy Kong Qiu saved has also come along. 

497 BC.  "Confucius leaves the Kingdom of Lu and begins wandering from state to state."

Diqiu, capital of the Kingdom of Wei.  The master and his disciples arrive at the city gates.  They are permitted to talk with the king, who invites Konq Qiu to educate his people.  An academy will be build for the master.  The king says he also needs his soldiers trained, because Wei is surrounded by enemies on all sides.  He has heard, after all, that the master is quite a brilliant military tactician.  Kong Qiu says he has very little experience with the military.  The king says he won't force the issue, but his royal consort Nanzi had been extremely eager to talk with the master. 

The disciples warn the master that Nanzi has a terrible reputation  In fact, she is a succubus.  Kong Qiu tells his men that he will not listen to gossip.  He goes on to say that the real power behind the throne is the consort Nanzi. 

Kong Qiu waits to speak with Nanzi.  She asks him if his benevolence extends to a woman with a bad reputation like herself?  He is careful of what he says.  A little later he says that in the purest of love there is no evil.  She now asks him if he will take her on as a student?  He suggests that the lady study with one of his disciples from Wei who is a prodigy.   Nanzi now says that many of Wei's thinkers say that Kong Qiu's ideas are impractical.  Kong Qiu replies that civility can work and is very helpful for all in the kingdom.  She says man is lascivious and immoral and they won't change.  Nanzi likes his answers and asks if they can meet again?  Konq Qiu says he apologizes for he has not met a single soul in Wei with any integrity.  That statement shocks Nanzi and she chooses not to respond to it.   In parting she says that only a few people will understand the depth of Kong Qiu's suffering.  On her knees she makes a deep bow and Kong Qiu returns the same bow. 

Kong Qiu decides to leave Wei because he sees that the kingdom will soon descend into chaos.  And soon Kong Qiu and his disciples are back on the road again. 

Someone shoots the royal consort of Wei in the chest area with an arrow. 

The Kingdom of Song.  The master and his disciples are told to leave the Kingdom of Song.  A group of peasants harass the master and his disciples.  The scholars leave. 

484 BC.  The forces of Qi invade Lu.  Kong Qiu went from Wei, to Zheng and now is in the Kingdom of Chen. 

Qufu, capital of the Kingdom of Lu.  Outside the city walls of Qufu are the campfires of thousands of Qi soldiers.  In this very serious situation, Lord Ji wishes he had Kong Qiu with whom to consult.  There is a sense of doom among the leaders of Lu thinking that the Kingdom of Qi will swallow up Lu.  Lord Ji thinks that this whole strategy of removing Kong Qiu from Lu was concocted by the leaders of Qi to weaken the Kingdom of Lu. This leader tells his son to go find Kong Qiu and bring him back.  The son suggests that it would be easier to invite Kong Qui's disciple Ran Qiu back than the master, who they disgraced.  This disciple is also a good military tactician.  Father agrees to this.

The disciples awaken Kong Qiu saying that the Kingdom of Wu is invading and they have to go now!  The group gets away, but with very little of their belongings.  And now the master and his disciples sit in a barn with a very tattered roof.   Everyone gets soaked.  The disciples ask the master to honor Lord Ji's request to allow Ran Qiu to help protect Lu in its fight with Qi.  The master decides to let Ran Qiu go to Qufu. 

The big battle begins to take place at Qufu.  Ran Qiu is able to save the city.  The Qi army has retreated.  The Prime Minister rewards Ran Qiu by putting him in charge of the Wen Shang cities.  Ran Qiu says he cannot accept this reward, but he asks Lord Ji to invite Master Kong back to Lu.  Lord Ji says he will ask the king for permission to allow this to happen. 

On the border between the Kingdoms of Chen and Cai.  Yan Hui tells the master that the Cai troops have them trapped in this valley.  Zigao offers to check out a path that could lead them out of the valley.   The small group of men have almost no food left.  The news of the day is that the Kingdoms of Zheng and Cai have been conquered.  Wei's ruler is dead and the survivors want to make Zilu the governor of the city of Puyi. 

Zilu and Qi Sigong have gone to take up his new job in Puyi.  The ice on a lake starts breaking up under the weight of the cart on which Kong Qiu is traveling.  He and some of his scrolls fall into the icy water.  Kong Qiu is rescued and Yan Hui dives in after the scrolls.  He comes back up once, goes down and up, but on his third retrieval he drowns.  The master is very upset over this loss of a disciple so close to him.  The body is retrieved.  Kong Qiu holds the dead body of the young man close to him.  His disciples finally have to take the body away by force. 

The master gives the parted jade circle to his son to take it to Lord Ji. 

Qi Sigong comes back without Zilu.  Yang Hu from the Kingdom invaded Wei and Zilu was killed in battle against the invaders.

Lord Ji sends the parted jade back to Kong Qiu via the lord's son.  The son hands over the jade and then says that his father is dying.  At this time Ran Qiu arrives saying that he finally has found his master.  Ran tells the master that Minister Ji expressed his regrets about forcing the master into exile.  He is near death and wants to apologize to Kong Qiu in person.  The master thinks about a ring of jade now united.  Kong says he will return to Lu, but only as a teacher.  He wants nothing to do with politics. 

Ji dies while waiting outside for the arrival of Kong Qiu.

484 BC Confucius returns to the Kingdom of Lu, ending his years of wandering.  He gets down on his knees and makes a deep bow in front of the city walls.  He cries thinking about having returned home after all this time.

Back to the present.  Confucius says that if he becomes known it will be because of his last work.  He leans back and dies.

479 BC.  Confucius passes away, aged 73. 


Good movie and accurate historically.  The script is confusing partly just because there were so many different kingdoms during the lifetime of Confucius.  And the many kingdoms have many leaders.  So it's a struggle to keep up with the story of Confucius.  Confucius also had a lot lof disciples, so that also adds to the total number of character names.  Given that it's confusing, the film is still good.  What happened to Confucius is this.  He developed a great system of ethics and philosophy that were greatly admired.  But he wanted to go farther and see if he couldn't put some of his ideas in action in the real world.  The problem is that real politicians and nations don't act as ethically as Confucius and his system.  He started out pretty well with his advise, but later got into big trouble.  This story is told in the film very well.   

Yun-Fat Chow (as Confucius) was simply marvelous. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D. 


Historical background:


551 BC.  -- birth of Confucius in Zou, Lu state (near present-day Qufu, Shandong Province).  His father Kong He was an officer in the Lu military.

Lu  --  surrounded  by Qi on the north;  to the east is the East China Sea (around today's Lianyungang); Wu is to the southeast; Deng to the south; Song on the southwest; and Wey to the west.  There were many other, larger kingdoms around the state of Lu and its neighbors. 

548  --   his father dies when Confucius was three years old.

Confucius grew up in poverty, raised by his mother.

 532  --  he marries a young girl named Qi Guan at age 19.

531  --  the couple has a child, Kong Li. 

Confucius is reported to have worked as a shepherd, cowherder, clerk, and a book-keeper.

Confucius's social ascendancy linked him to the growing class of shi, a class intermediate between the aristocracy and the common people. 

528  --  when his mother dies, Confucius (aged 23) mourns for three years as was the custom.

The Lu state was headed by a ruling ducal house. Much of the power was divided between three aristocratic families. 

Ji family--   held the position "Minister over the Masses", who was also the "Prime Minister";

Meng family --  held the position "Minister of Works";

Shu family   --  held the position "Minister of War".

505 BC  (winter)  --  Yang Hu—a retainer of the Ji family— rebelled and seized power from the Ji family.

501 BC (summer)  --  the three hereditary families expel Yang Hu from Lu.

Confucius had build up a considerable reputation through his teachings.  He stressed "personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity."

The three families came to see the value of proper conduct and righteousness to help them establish a legitimate government.

Confucius is appointed to the minor position of governor of a town.  Over time he rose to the position of Minister of Crime.

Confucius wanted to help return the authority of the state to the Duke of Lu.  To do this he wanted to dismantle the fortifications of the city-strongholds belonging to the three families.  Then the duke could establish a centralized government.  Confucius used diplomacy to get support for the idea of knocking down the three sets of walls.

500 BC  --  Hou Fan, governor of Hou, revolted against his Shu family lord.  The Meng and Shu families unsuccessfully besiege Hou.

A loyalist official raised up a rebellion with the support of the people of Hou and forced Hou Fan to flee to the Qi state.  This situation helped Confucius and his disciples convince the three aristocratic families to dismantle the fortifications of their cities. 

498 BC  --  after a year and a half, Confucius and his disciples succeeded in convincing the Shu family to raze the walls of Hou; the Ji family to raze the walls of Bi, and the Meng family to raze the walls of Cheng.

Soon thereafter, Gongshan Furao, a retainer of the Ji family, revolted and took control of the forces at Bi.  Then he immediately launched an attack and entered the capital Lu.

Gongshan had earlier asked Confucius to join him.  Confucius considered it, but turned him down. 

Zhong You, one of the disciples of Confucius, managed to keep the duke and the three viscounts together at the court.   Confucius arranged the position of governor at the Ji family for Zhong You.

When Confucius heard of the raid, he requested from Viscount Ji Huanzi if the duke and his court could retreat to a stronghold on his palace grounds. The heads of the three families and the duke retreated to the Ji's palace complex and ascended the Wuzi Terrace.  Confucius ordered two officers to lead an assault against the rebels, who were pursued and defeated in Gu.  Immediately after this revolt was stricken down, the Ji family razed the Bi city walls to the ground.

When it was time to dismantle the city walls of the Meng family, the governor was reluctant to have his city walls torn down and convinced the head of the Meng family not to do so.

Confucius could not achieve the idealistic reform that he wanted, but his success made him many enemies.  One of these was Viscount Ji Huanzi

497 BC  --  Confucius departed his homeland, leaving the state of Lu without resigning, remaining in self-exile and unable to return as long as Viscount Ji Huanzi was alive.

The neighboring Qi state was worried that Lu was becoming too powerful while Confucius was involved in the government of the Lu state. Qi decided to sabotage Lu's reforms by sending 100 good horses and 80 beautiful dancing girls to the Duke of Lu.  The Duke indulged himself in pleasure and did not attend to official duties for three days. Confucius was deeply disappointed and resolved to leave Lu and seek better opportunities, yet to leave at once would expose the misbehavior of the Duke and therefore bring public humiliation to the ruler Confucius was serving. Confucius therefore waited for the Duke to make a lesser mistake. Soon after, the Duke neglected to send to Confucius a portion of the sacrificial meat that was his due according to custom, and Confucius seized upon this pretext to leave both his post and the Lu state.

After Confucius's resignation, he began a long journey or set of journeys around the small kingdoms of northeast and central China, traditionally including the states of Wei, Song, Chen, and Cai. At the courts of these states, he expounded his political beliefs but did not see them implemented.

At the age of 68, Confucius returned home.  His last years were spent teaching 72 or 77 disciples and transmitting the old wisdom via a set of texts called the Five Classics.

479 BC  --  he died at the age of 71 or 72 and was buried in Kong Lin cemetery which lies in the historical part of Qufu.





Return To Main Page

Return to Home Page (Vernon Johns Society)