The Analects of Confucius were written by the secondary disciples of the immediate disciples of K’ung Fu-tsze in order to preserve his teachings. K’ung Fu-tsze lived in Northern China, 551-478 BCE, during an era of great turmoil and oppression. He strove to spread practical wisdom in the hope that it might stabilize and benefit all society. He viewed society as being composed of an intertwining web of relationships in which one must fulfill one’s role for all to attain the highest level of peace and harmony possible.
In studying the Analects, one would do well to envision the violence and suffering that existed within society prior to the formation of rules and laws. It is in their simplicity that K’ung Fu-tsze’s teachings are profound. These teachings laid the foundation upon which Chinese philosophy has been grounded for over two thousand years.