Confucius or Kong Zi, in Chinese, is buried in a humble plot in Qufu, Shandong Province. His tomb has no sign of luxury or grandeur of a philosopher whose analects shaped China—and are still highly-regarded until today.
While I was still working in Beijing, one of my students told the class that he’s a descendant of Kong Zi (aka Confucius). He was the one who invited me to go to Qufu and proudly showed me his small town where his family is revered like they’re deities. Everyone we met along our way to the cemetery seemed to know him. The security guard recognized him and he ushered us to the gate, skipping the queue at the ticket booth. I got in free, of course!
The cemetery is literally a forest, only with concrete, well-maintained paths.
It can be a bit chilly even in summer.
The trees are weird-looking and they seem to have a life of their own. One tree I was shown was three thousand years old.
The Kong Family owns this huge piece of land for many centuries.
All descendants of Confucius are buried and will be buried here.
In this 200 hectares of land, Confucius grew up, lived, and taught his students here.
There are temples of learning, a library, and small pagodas where he used to write and conduct his teachings.
The Chinese architecture here looks very authentic and well-ornamented.
If you look closer, even the eaves carry intricate symbols, products of skilled craftsmanship.
A few meters before approaching the stone statues of the animals, visitors have to do long, high jump to be able to go to heaven.
These leopards were said to be trained by Confucius himself. Touching their heads means more money to come for you; rubbing its neck means long life; and touching its butt means good health. That explains why the stones are shiny smooth.
After passing the statues, you’ll arrive at this place where tour guides blabber about a lot of stuff to a large crowd of Chinese tourists.
And here lies Confucius, the great Chinese Sage.
On the raised platform, visitors are free to leave their offerings. Also, they’re free to kneel, kowtow and worship Master Kong.
Confucius is known to have said this golden rule: “Do not do unto others what you do not want others do unto you.” And that’s BEFORE Christ.