Confucius (551B.C. - 479B.C.) is regarded as a great philosopher
and a great sage of China. For more than 2,000 years, the ideas
of Confucius have influenced Chinese culture, which in turn sculpted
the world-view of neighboring countries such as Korea, Japan and
Confucianism is a major system of thought in China, developed from
the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius and his disciples,
and concerned with the principles of good conduct, practical wisdom,
and proper social relationships. Confucianism has influenced the
||attitude toward life, set the patters
of living and standards of social value, and provided the background
for Chinese political theories and institutions. Although Confucianism
became the official ideology of the state, it has never existed as
an established religion with a church and priesthood. Chinese scholars
honored Confucius as a great teacher and sage, but did not worship
him as a personal god. Nor did Confucius ever claim divinity. The
principles of Confucianism are contained in nine ancient Chinese works
handed down by Confucius and his followers. These teachings can be
divided into two groups: the Five Classics and the Four Books.
The keynote of Confucian ethics is ren, variously translated as
"benevolence", "love", "goodness",
and "humanity". In personal relations, ren is manifested
in zhong, or faithfulness to oneself and others, and shu, or decency.
Other important Confucian virtues include righteousness (yi), propriety
(li), wisdom (zhi), trustworthiness (xin), and filial piety (xiao).