A different perspective to understand Confucius

The release of new book “The Happiness of Confucius”.

Was Confucius a happy person?

How would we know? Why should we care?

Confucius was one of the earliest and greatest educationists and philosophers in Chinese history. He had a great influence on the culture, politics, history and ways of living and thinking in China. How can a person who lived more than 2500 years ago have such a deep influence and retain such high prestige in China and even in the world?

According to Dr. Xiduo Cao’s new book “The Happiness of Confucius”, one of the secrets of Confuicus’ achievement and influence lies in the fact that he was a happy person.


Dr. Xiduo Cao is an assistant professor of Center for Teacher Education Research, Beijing Normal University. In recent years, Dr. Xiduo Cao has devoted herself to the teaching and research of Chinese traditional culture. One of her specific interests is the life and philosophy of Confucius. From her reading of Confucius’ texts and other historical accounts, Confucius was a very happy person. His happiness was every essential to his spirit and subsequent achievements.


Dr. Xiduo Cao with her readers

For those of us who live in the 21th century, one of the most important lessons we can learn from Confucius is that of happiness. Specifically, there were six sources of Confucius’ happiness: learning, teaching, being a gentlemen, music, nature, and chasing the dream. Readers can learn about each source of the happiness of Confucius in great detail by reading this book.

Along with this, readers will see various pictures of lotus’ in this book, all of which are photographic works of Mrs. Min Chen, who is the author’s Mom as well as her earliest Chinese traditional culture tutor.

In Chinese, the word lotus has the same pronunciation with the word harmony, and thus has become a symbol of harmony. Harmony is a very essential concept in the theory of Confucianism. Confucius believed that true happiness comes from being harmonious with oneself, with the family, with the nation, as well as with the whole world.

Comments of this book:

Ms. Cao Xiduo’s “Happiness of Confucius” is as charming as it is evocative in its zen-filled messages. Her mastery and fluidity of English renders this book a refreshing reading experience, and the pictures accompanying the texts are nothing less than a most lovely companion to her unique literary creation rich of philosophical and inspiring thoughts. (Dr. Ben Wang: Writer, translator and lecturer of classical Chinese literature; Senior Lecturer of Humanities: China Institute and the U.N. in New York City)

As one of the earliest and greatest philosophers and educators, Confucius not only belongs to China, but also belongs to the world, not only belongs to ancient times, but also belongs to modern times. Dr. Xiduo Cao’s The Happiness of Confucius tells us a Confucius not as a sage but as a happy person, which will be inspiring and enlightening to people all around the world in the 21st century. (Dr. Yong HE: Director, Chinese teaching group of United Nations in New York City)

It is inevitable that America’s interest in Chinese culture will rise to the same level as Chinese interest in ours. We are giants on the planet and not only our people’s curiosity but also mutual self-interest will cause each to study more closely the other. The seeds of Chinese culture are so ancient, and the fruits from these seeds so numerous and vast that it may almost appear impossible to the Westerner to grasp them in any meaningful way.Which is exactly was I encourage Westerners to pick up Professor Xiduo’s little jewel-box of a book, “The Happiness of Confucius.” In these pages very basic precepts of Chinese culture are presented with dashing simplicity. The book is essentially a gracious invitation to partake in an exploration that will lead to great and important East-West understanding. (Jeremy Wilber, Supervisor of the town of Woodstock, New York State, USA)

Confucius said, “Only women and inferior people are difficult to get along with”. Unexpectedly, two thousand years later, there is a woman who understands him as a person chasing happiness. Actually, happiness of learning, teaching and being a gentleman etc. has a great influence on Confucius’ thoughts. Dr. Xiduo Cao re-interpret the classic of Confucius from an extremely clever and well accepted perspective. I believe this book offers a convenient way for young people around the world to understand Confucius. (Dr. Ningjuan Zhang, Editors in Chief, Journal of Moral Education in China)

This book is a very creative way of reading Analect! In Dr Cao’s description, Confucius shows vivid image of him as an active person who enjoyed learning, teaching and practicing of being a gentleman (junzi). I could feel the spirit of joy of the author coincidence with Confucius through the words and photos of Lotus in the book! (Dr. Huajun Zhang, Associate professor, Beijing Normal University)

After reading Dr. XiDuo Cao’s Happiness of Confucius, I can say I learned a lot more about the great philosopher/sage than I knew before. Her writing is very clear, concise and does a good job of conveying what Confucius was like and what his ideas are.  The book is an easy to understand book, perfect for someone just starting out and wanting to learn about Confucius. (Mr. Pei Kang, Writer, USA)

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