Religions - Confucianism



Confucianism began about 2,500 years ago in China.


Supreme Sage K'ung-fu-tsu (Confucius) and Secong Sage Meng-tzu (Mencius).


The Analects, Doctrine of the Mean, Great Learning and Mencius.


Estimated at 350 million, mostly in China, Japan, Burma and Thailand.


There are no formal sects within Confucianism. Followers are free to profess other religions yet still be Confucianists.


Confucianism is, and has been for over 25 centuries, the dominant philosophical system in China and the guiding light in almost every aspect of Chinese life. Confucius and his followers traveled throughout the many feudal states of the Chinese empire, persuading rulers to adopt his social reforms. They did not offer a point-by-point program, but stressed instead the 'Way', or 'One Thread', Jen, which is (translated as 'humanity or love') that runs through all Confucius' teachings. They urged individuals to strive for perfect virtue, righteousness (called Yi) and improvement of character. They taught the importance of harmony in the family, order in the state and peace in the empire, which they saw as inherently interdependent. Teachings emphasize a code of conduct, self-cultivation and propriety - and thus the attainment of social and national order. Stress is more on human duty and the ideal of the 'superior man' than on a divine or supramundane Reality. Still, Confucius fasted, worshiped the ancestors, attended sacrifices and sought to live in harmony with Heaven. Confucianism is now enjoying a renaissance in China.

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