The ascended masters spent lifetimes in which they perfected various soul and character qualities. A study of specific lifetimes of the masters helps us to understand what is required for true self-mastery. Confucius is a well-known spiritual teacher who was born in 551 BC in the Chinese State of Lu. Some historians believe that his father was much older than his mother. In any case, his father died when he was three years old and he was raised solely by his mother. They were quite poor, but the family came from noble lineage.

Confucius married at the age of nineteen. He had many occupations as a young man, including working as a shepherd, cowherd, clerk and bookkeeper. Confucius was part a movement to establish a new class in Chinese society that was based on talent and skills rather than inherited social status.

Confucius also made a long journey around the small kingdoms of northeast and central China. He travelled for ten years and talked about his innovative political beliefs. Confucius believed that developing keen judgment was more important than rote learning of rules and regulations. This type of ethics has become known as virtue ethics.

During the last years of his life, Confucius spent his time teaching his disciples. One of his most famous teachings was a form of the Golden Rule: "never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.

Confucius's teachings were later turned into a set of texts and elaborate practices by his numerous disciples and followers. These classical texts were called the Analects. Combined with other texts, these core texts came to form the foundation of what we know today as Confucianism. Ironically these complex teachings may not accurately reflect the simple philosophy of the religion's founder. Instead, it is Confucius' devotion to inner wisdom and the ethics of the heart that have given him his immortal freedom.

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