Confucius (551-479 BCE) righteous among the nations
In 479 Kong Qiu Zhongni, better known in the West by his latinized name Confucius ("the master of the Kong family"), died in what is now the city of Qufu, China.
Confucius was born in China's Lu state into a family of high dignitaries. At the age of seventeen he became an officer in the Chinese mandarinate. He dedicated his life to fighting the spread of corruption and reforming the administration of public property according to the criteria of justice and order, which he considered to be qualities found in nature.
In his life and in his public discourses, Confucius called for social renewal beginning with the inner renewal of each person, which becomes possible when people combat all of the idols that distance them from the love of integrity and from harmony with one another.
Confucius believed in the gods of his ancestors, but unlike Lao-Tze, he did not invoke religion to support his work as a reformer. Instead, he relied on common sense and his understanding of human nature.
His teaching had an enormous impact on Chinese culture, and remains one of the cornerstones of the world's most populous civilization. Confucius' message of peace, harmony and justice in the cosmos, to which he gave unceasing witness throughout his life, makes him one of the righteous among the nations.
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