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Confucianism

Confucianism is a religion with an estimated 5,600,000 to 6,000,000 followers or Confucians. Confucianism was founded by K'ung Fu Tzu or Confucius (Latin version of his name) in China between 551 B.C. and 478 B.C.. K'ung Fu-tzu means "Grand Master K'ung".

Confucius lived about the same time that Buddha did, during the Chou dynasty, an era known for its moral laxity. His writings primarily deal with ethics, morality and the proper exercise of political power by the rulers. Confucius was poor, but his decendants were not.

There are only a few Chinese texts that survived a disastrous book-burning during China's first cultural revolution in 213 B.C. by the Emperor Ch'in Shih Huang. According to legend, these text were hidden inside a temple wall.

The main scripture of the religion of Confucianism is the Confucian Canon, which was written by his students after his death. There are other texts (some written before Confucius and some written after Confucius) that also survived the fire and are associated in the broadest sense with Confucianism, the traditional state religion of feudal China. These include the following sacred texts assembled by Chu Hsi (1130-1200 A.D.) during the Sung dynasty:

The Si Shu (or The Four Books), which includes The Lun YŁ (The Analects of Confucius) containing a collection of sayings written by Confucius' students after his death, The Chung Yung (or the Doctrine of the Mean), The Ta Hsueh (or the Great Learning) and The Meng Tzu (or The Book of Mencius) about another philosopher, who like Confucius traveled from state to state conversing with the government rulers in 371-289 B.C., about a century after Confucius.

The Wu Jing (or The Five Classics), which includes The Shu Ching (or The Book of Historical Records) containing writings and speeches by ancient Chinese rulers, The Shih Ching (or The Book of Odes) containing 305 poems and songs dating back to 1766-500 B.C., The I Ching (or The Book of Changes) describing a divinatory system involving 64 hexagrams (or symbols composed of broken and continuous lines,) The Ch'un Ch'iu (or The Spring and Autumn Annals) and The Li Ching (a.k.a. Li Ki or The Book of Rites) describing rules of conduct.



Confucius' teachings became the official ideology of the Chinese empire during the Han dynasty, 202 B.C. - 220 A.D.. There are six schools:

1. Han Confucianism

2. Neo-Confucianism

3. Contemporary Neo-Confucianism

4. Japanese Confucianism

5. Korean Confucianism

6. Singapore Confucianism


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