Mencius

Mencius, or Meng K'o, was the greatest of the intellectual descendants of Master K'ung (Confucius).  He was born around 372 BCE and was known for his principal doctrine that human nature is essentially good.  His book, the Book of Mencius, held that people are corrupted by their environment and that the key to reform is to draw out one's innate goodness through education.  Also prominent in the book is a concern for meditation and the inner, spiritual life which is not far distant from that of Taoism or Transcendentalism.  The New England Transcendentalists were drawn to Orientalist thought mainly through the works of men such as Mencius, and this influence is present, directly or indirectly, in many Transcendental notions.