"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.