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"How dare I claim to be a sage or a benevolent man?"
By constructing the philosophy expressed through The Analects, Confucius might well dare to make such a claim. The Analects are a collection of Confucius' sayings, compiled by his pupils shortly after his death in 497 B.C., and they reflect the extent to which Confucius held up a moral ideal for all men. The aim is the perfection of one's moral character, the method one of arduous pursuit of such moral attributes as benevolence, wisdom, courage; the result is no recompense either in this life or the next – to follow the Way must be its own reward. A harsh philosophy perhaps, but shining through it is the splendid intellect and spirit of one of the most reasonable and humane thinkers of all time.