Mencius（孟子Mèngzǐ), also known by his birth name Meng Ke (孟轲Mèngkē）or Ko, was born in the State of Zou (邹国Zōuguó), now forming the territory of the county-level city of Zoucheng (邹城zōuchéng) (originally Zouxian) (邹县Zōuxiàn), Shandong province (山东省Shāndōng Shěng), only thirty kilometres (eighteen miles) south of Qufu (曲阜Qūfù) , Confucius' birthplace.
He was an itinerant Chinese philosopher and sage, and one of the principal interpreters of Confucianism (儒家rújiā). Supposedly, he was a pupil of Confucius (孔子Kǒngzǐ)' grandson, Zisi (子思Zǐsī). Like Confucius, according to legend, he travelled China for forty years to offer advice to rulers for reform. During the Warring States Period (战国时期Zhànguó Shíqī) (403–221 BCE), Mencius served as an official and scholar at the Jixia Academy (稷下学宫jìxià xuégōng) in the State of Qi (齐国Qíguó) (1046 BCE to 221 BCE) from 319 to 312 BCE. He expressed his filial devotion when he took an absence of three years from his official duties for Qi to mourn his mother's death. Disappointed at his failure to effect changes in his contemporary world, he retired from public life.
Mencius is buried in the "Mencius Cemetery", (孟子林Mèngzǐ Lín) (also known as Yasheng Lin), (亚圣林Yàshèng Lín) which is located 12 km to the northeast of Zoucheng's central urban area. A stele carried by a giant stone tortoise and crowned with dragons stands in front of his grave.
View on human nature
While Confucius himself did not explicitly focus on the subject of human nature, Mencius asserted the innate goodness of the individual, believing that it was society's influence – its lack of a positive cultivating influence – that caused bad moral character. "He who exerts his mind to the utmost knows his nature" and "the way of learning is none other than finding the lost mind".