A good introduction to the life of this ancient philosopher
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 02/14/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When I think of Confucius, I think of some wise old philosopher sitting atop a mountain somewhere dispensing wisdom to his followers, and I conjure up the words "Confucius say" in a horrible Chinese accent, but I could not really tell you what he said. Obviously, I basically knew nothing about this ancient wise man, his life or his teachings. Thus, this video was of immense instructional value to me. Confucius was no mythical being; he was very much a man, one who knew hardship and sorrows but devoted his life to improving the lot of those around him. I cannot say I now have a good understanding of Confucianist thought, however, and my mind questions how so many details can be known about the life of a man born over five centuries before the time of Christ. If you want to study the teachings of Confucius, this video may not be a very useful place to start; if you just want an idea of who this man was, however, it is certainly worthy of a look.
Confucius had a hard life, and he had intimate knowledge of the sufferings of his people. He lived in an era that saw constant warfare between competing warlords and the casting of shadows upon the impressive Chinese civilization that came before. Confucius wanted above all else to change Chinese society of his time and to rescue his nation and her people from the suffering and misery that stalked the land at that time. He was the son of an elderly great warrior and his concubine, and he apparently inherited the unbecoming looks of his father. After his father's death, he and his mother were rejected by the family, but great poverty did not stop Confucius from constantly seeking to learn and grow. In time, he started a school and welcomed students of all means, from the sons of leaders to the sons of penniless workers, teaching the importance of hard work, education for all, and a disregard for class and wealth in the measure of a man. He dreamed of finding a leader who would take him on as his advisor and, in this manner, bring about the great changes to society which he sought. For a time, he served as the governor of his home province and, for a few short years, put his teachings into practice with much success. He attracted enemies, though, and soon found himself wandering the countryside in exile. He kept seeking a leader who could save China, but Confucius' truth did not appeal to those capable of instituting change in society. He died thinking his great mission was a failure, never knowing just how immense an influence he would have on future generations of men and women, particularly those in Asia.
Confucius had his flaws, but he never deviated from the values and beliefs he cultivated throughout his entire life. I would not dare say I have a good handle on the ideas of Confucius' thought after watching this video, but I do feel as if I have some appreciation for the man and for his accomplishments in life. His words of wisdom are timeless, and this video does indeed show him to be a man whose teachings are valid and worthy of attention by everyone, including those of us in the West who, for the most part, know next to nothing about the man dubbed China's greatest philosopher and thinker."
A Great Overview for Groups Interested in Asian Culture
David Crumm | Canton, Michigan | 02/01/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Nearly everyone has heard the name of the Chinese moral philosopher who taught in Asia half a millennium before Jesus' birth -- but most people don't know much about what he actually taught or the nature of his remarkable life.
The well-respected "Biography" series has produced about the best hour-long overview of his life that's available to viewers in the West. It's great to use with groups -- or simply to view on your own to understand one of the major figures shaping Asian culture to this day.
As a journalist, I have traveled in Asia and know first hand that the strong influence of Confucius on Chinese culture, in particular, has ebbed and flowed over the centuries. For a while in China, his philosophy was widely condemned, but his influence is welcomed again in official circles -- and many China experts recommend learning more about Confucian thought as an important window into emerging Asian culture.
This isn't a scholarly documentary -- but it's an enjoyable way to begin getting up to speed on this important figure in shaping the world's spiritual traditions."
Cunfucius in better terms.
H. Anderson | Minnetonka, MN United States | 10/25/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The video, A&E Biography's, Confucius: Words of Wisdom contains a lot of very interesting information as well as useful information, however, it is very dry and lacks the bouncy, colorful format of more recently produced video's. For classroom usage, it may be better used in small bits, rather trying to show it all at once."