The Analects of Confucius (which means "Sayings") is the only work that we can confidently connect with the teacher Confucius, who gives his name to the secular social philosophy known as Confucianism.
Confucius lived in a period when the unified Chou kingdom has split into a number of feudal states, most supposedly ruled by descendants of the Chou royal house.
The Analects represents the memory of Confucius's teachings on the part of his disciples and was probably not written down until many centuries after his death.
During the Han Dynasty, Confucian values became interwoven with the ideology of the imperial state.
Confucianism is a philosophy of the relations between human beings, and its persuasive force rests not on a claim of transcendental truth but on the wisdom embodied in a person. Throughout the Analects the reader is reminded that wisdom comes in fragments and fractions; the burden of full understanding is placed on the reader.
By study and self-cultivation, individuals can join their instinctive being and their social being. The members of our society must behave with a natural decency toward one another, respecting age and hierarchy and adapting to their changing roles.
About Heaven, Confucious wrote, "To keep one's distance from the gods and spirits while showing them reverence can be called wisdom."