Confucianism is an ethical and philosophical religion that was born out of the Han Dynasty by Confucius. Confucianism was very popular during the Han Dynasty until it fell in popularity to other religions like Buddhism and Taoism which took over as the dominant schools of thought during the Tang dynasty. Confucianism is practiced in places like China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Vietnam.
Confucianism, which began in the 6th-5th century BC, is seen as less of a religion and as more of a way of life. Some even view Confucianism as more of a philosophy than a religion. There are about 5-6 million followers of Confucianism.
Confucianism has a few classic texts all authored by Confucius himself:
- I Ching: the Book of Changes, earliest of the classics, shows metaphysical vision which combines art with numerology, philosophy sees cosmos interact with the yin yang
- Classic of Poetry: the Book of Songs, earliest book of Chinese poems and songs
- Book of Documents: the Book of History, features speeches from major figures and recorded events
- Book of Rites: describes social form and ceremonial rites
- Spring and Autumn Annals: a book that chronicles the spring and the autumn
Confucianism is centered on humanism, the world around us and the people in our lives. There is also a large emphasis placed on honesty which is important to humanism. There are five humanist virtues:
Confucianism also places a large importance on relationships. There are the Five Bonds are:
- ruler to ruled
- father and son
- husband and wife
- elder brother to younger brother
- friend to friend
Confucianism also places a heavy emphasis on the optimism view of human nature. Confucianisms truly believe in humanity and that humans can become amazing. Confucian believed that humans are “teachable, improvable, and perfectible” through proper ethical and philosophical training.