Confucianism Beliefs & Practices

People across the globe are followers of a particular religion or sect. These religions teach the basic principles of fear of God, respect for fellow human beings and a harmonious living. Confucianism is also one such religion, or rather a quasi religious system, which teaches moral values, filial piety and government loyalty to its followers. Confucianism is based on the teachings of Confucius, a Chinese erudite scholar. Confucius believed that man by nature is good. It is the circumstances that change his basic nature and make him act according to the situation. Through Confucianism beliefs, Confucius taught the society the code of conduct about how to behave in a society.

To be able under all circumstances to practice five things constitutes perfect virtue; these five things are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness and kindness. ~ Confucius

Confucianism: A Rewind

The history of Confucianism can be traced back to the teachings of Confucius. K’ung Fu Tzu or Kong Fuzi, or ‘Master Kong’, well-known as Confucius, was a Chinese social philosopher and thinker. Confucius is the Latinized version of K’ung Fu Tzu and is used in the Western countries. Born in 551 BC, in Lu province, Confucius spent most of his life in teaching ethics and moral values to the society. The paradigms of Confucius were used as guide for the rulers of the province of China, in the sixth century BC, on how to rule the country. Confucius teachings were recorded by his followers who introduced it to the world as Confucianism. His teachings are compiled into The Analects. Another book known as the Record of Rites, contains the teachings, anecdotes and discourses of Confucius. Confucius was a man who believed in simple living and high thinking. Even today, his followers tread the path that Confucius paved centuries ago. This quasi religious sect has followers not only in China but all across the world. Let us take a look at the Confucianism beliefs as instructed by Confucius.

Confucianism Beliefs and Practices

The beliefs of Confucianism are not based on religious views but revolve around the human society. The Confucianism central beliefs are based on the ethical values that every individual must possess. Confucianism beliefs on afterlife discouraged the thought of thinking about life after death. Confucius stated that thinking about life after death was beyond human understanding and one should not worry about it. Instead one must concentrate on living life in a harmonious manner. The belief system about Confucianism beliefs in God is rather very vague, as there was no indication about God in the teachings of Confucius and respecting other human beings was like a religion to this great philosopher. Here are the five principles around which Confucianism revolves.

  • Jen
  • Li
  • Xin
  • Chung
  • Yi
  • Hsiao

The concept of Jen is based on human nature and benevolence. This is considered to be one of the most important theories of the Confucian philosophy. It teaches us to be kind towards fellow human beings and their needs. Sharing with others or the under privileged is also emphasized in this concept.

Li is a principle of respect and propriety. An individual must show respect towards his ancestors, elders and superiors, etc. He should treat others in the way he wishes to be treated. He must treat others with equality and must not be selfish or judgmental towards others.

Xin refers to faithfulness and being honest towards oneself and others. This helps the individual to earn the admiration, trust and confidence of others.

Being loyal towards one’s country or state, or Chung is also one of the important Confucianism beliefs. Loyalty strengthens the bond between the rulers and the citizens of a country.

Righteousness is the base of human virtue. One must always follow the principle of Yi and be able to differentiate what is right and wrong. One must stand up for righteousness under any circumstances and not let go of moral values.

Hsiao or filial piety means that one should have love and respect for one’s parents and the parents must love their children equally. Parents and children must be equally devoted towards each other. This doctrine emphasizes the value of a family, where the younger members must be obedient and revere the elders.

Confucianism beliefs for kids should be taught to them so that they understand these principles and cultivate moral values and virtues. These Confucianism beliefs are followed in China and other countries like Korea, Japan, Vietnam and Taiwan. Hope you found this brief overview on Confucianism beliefs informative.