Confucianism is a philosophical and ethical system or a way of life taught by Confucius in the 5th-6th century BC. Some see it as philosophy or religion, as an â€œall-encompassing humanism that neither denies nor slights heavenâ€.
Confucianism is known to be a combination of ren also known as â€œbenevolence or humanenessâ€ of people within a community. It is a reflection of excellent character in accordance to li or ritual norms, yi or the moral disposition to do good, zhong which is loyalty to oneâ€™s nature, shu or reciprocity and xiao filial piety. Altogether they are seen as de or virtue. Confucius also believes that it is necessary to give up oneâ€™s life â€œpassively or actively for the sake of upholding cardinal and moral values.
These beliefs are all characteristics of a positive view of human nature and faith that all human beings are gifted and can do wonderful things. They are all capable of improving, being taught and reaching a certain level of perfection through â€˜self-cultivation and self-creationâ€™.
Confucius saw heaven or Tâ€™ienas a personal universal force and he regarded it as positive. This belief was contrary to what people assumed that he was a skeptic or agnostic who did not believe in a higher power.
Confucianism does not have specific rituals or practices apart from its â€˜ethical principlesâ€™. Most of these so called practices are a combination of Taosim, Buddhism and Chinese religion.
This way of thinking has a huge following. It has become a moral compass, even influencing political and spiritual life in China. It has even spread out to neighboring Asian countries such as Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam and Japan.
Image from eerkmans