By: Clabe Hunt

Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is an ethical and philosophical system, also described as a religion, developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551–479 BCE). Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han Dynasty.



Confucius is the founder of Confucianism through his practices and teachings and was an influential political figure through his concise statements of general truth.

In contrast to his importance, Confucius lived a rather plain and regular life. The plainness of his life shows the ability that humans have to shape their own destiny no matter what lifestyle they live or what class they are under.

Some of the essential beliefs of Confucianism are that people must maintain a sense of doing what is right, serve their superiors diligently and loyally, display benevolence towards others and that an ideal ruler should influence others by moral example. Confucianism holds to a humanistic outlook in which the secular is sacred. People are expected to perform and adhere to specific rules and rituals based on societal hierarchy in their interactions with each other.

The emperor had an important role in Confucian political science as a god to be worshiped and the cornerstone of society. In the place of the emperor, most modern Chinese people worship various Taoist and Buddhist deities and their ancestors.

Examples of classic Confucianism texts include the Four Books and Five Classics that contained the political philosophy of Confucius and others. These nine books were compiled, standardized, and codified in the Song era to serve as standard examination material.

The Four Books were considered the most important texts of the Neo-Confucian school. These texts include: The Analects of Confucius that is a book of pithy sayings attributed to Confucius and recorded by his disciples; Mencius that is a collection of political dialogues attributed to Mencius; The Doctrine of the Mean; and The Great Learning that is a book about education, self-cultivation and the Dao. The Five Classics include: The Book of Changes, The Classic of Poetry, The Record of Rites that was a recreation of the original Classic of Rites of Confucius that was lost in the Qin book purge, The Classic of History, and The Spring and Autumn Annals that was mainly a historical record of Confucius' native state of Lu.

Confucianism spread all over China and neighboring countries, such as Vietnam, Korea, and more forcibly onto Japan. Confucianism spread quickly because of the popularity of Confucius and his teachings. In countries like China and those similar, they adopt the ideas of their leaders and many followed the ideas of Confucius.

Confucius was the most influential and respected philosopher in Chinese history. His ideas were the single strongest influence on Chinese society from around 100 BC till the early 20th century.

Confucianism symbol

Confucianism brought a stability into a country which had been effected in many ways from previous changeovers in dynasty's. Ancient China also shows it was valued due to it being kept in practice till the end of the Ancient Chinese era and beyond.

Confucius believed that every person had there place in society. For example- The merchants were at the bottom of this system even though many were wealthy, they didn't labor like farmers did.

Confucius made another impact on society by creating a school. The school educated young boys in the way of Confucianism and also taught them Calligraphy so many of the boys went on to becoming scholars.

The beliefs of Confucianism made woman subordinate throughout the religion. This re-affirmed the claim that woman were not as powerful or wise as men. This impacted how woman were viewed as in society causing many woman to try and claim social status with gruesome practices such as Foot-Binding.

Inspired in part by Western influences and the leadership of Sun Yat-sen and other Christians, there was a revolt against Confucianism at the end of the Qing Dynasty era between 1900 and 1920. China's problems were blamed on the old traditions and ideas. Since then, over the last 100 years, Confucianism has emerged in a number of forms in various countries.

Modern Confucian philosophers are little known and have little influence anywhere in the world. Confucian texts are little read, but there are still central Confucianism teachings that most Chinese hold to since they are implicit traditions of Chinese culture.

Works Cited

"What Is Confucianism?" WiseGEEK. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2017.

"Confucius." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2017.

Riegel, Jeffrey. "Confucius." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University, 03 July 2002. Web. 15 Jan. 2017.

"Confucius." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2017.

"Confucianism Beliefs and Teachings | Online Homework Help | SchoolWorkHelper." Online Homework Help SchoolWorkHelper. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2017.

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