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Confucianism

Researched and edited by:
Ryan
Anja Rahlenbeck
Alonso Rocha Tapia
Gillian
Preethika
How did the religion develop? Did someone found the religion?

The religion Confucianism was founded by Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, who was born in a small state called Lu. It was founded in 5th-6th century BC. Confucius, also known as K'ung Fu Tzu, taught a philosophy. At his time he was not very famous, he considered himself a failure.

Confucianism was founded by the chinese philosopher, Confucius. In chinese he is known as Kongzi. Confucianism was based on his teachings, which became popular after his death, around the 5th century BC. Other interpreters that have added onto his teachings are, Mengzi (commonly known as Mencius) and Xunzi.

The Religion was developed by the teachings of Confucious (孔夫子), A Chinese philosopher from 551 and 479 BCE. Confucianisim was originally an “ethical-sociopolitical teaching” during the Fall and Spring times. After the Qin Dynasty, it became the main ideology in China, until the Republic Of China.

Confucianism is a ethical and philosophical religion. It was developed by philosopher called Cofucius .His real name was Kong Qiu. Kong started the first private school in china and started teaching in his own and a new ideologly and teaching. Kong's ideology very ignored until the 5th century. Later his ideas were added to by his interpreters( Mengzi and Xunzi).

Are there any important days? Which ones? What happens on those days?
One of the important days in confucianism is Qing Ming, which happens 106 days after the winter solstice. On this day people go to the graves of their ancestors and give them offerings like paper money and paper cloths. Food, which is eaten after the ceremony, is offered during the ceremony. Chrysanthemums are the most common flower at these ceremonies, therefore chrysanthemums are funeral flowers. Another celebration is Chongmyo Taeje, which is held in honor of the kings and queens of the Yi dynasty. The Yi dynasty last many years starting with 1392 and ending in 1910. This takes place on the 1st Sunday in May. It is celebrated with music and dance. Obviously, people who follow confucianism celebrate the birth of Confucius. Confucius was born on September the 28th. He was born in Qufu in the Shandong province. This celebration takes place over a few days. It starts on the 28th of September and ends on the 10th of October. The birth of Confucius is celebrated with a big ceremony. Sometimes, the ceremony includes a kung fu competition, which are accompanied by music and dance.
The Ching Ming festival(清明) It is also known as tomb sweeping day, or ancestors day. It is celebrated on the 15th day from the spring equinox. It is celebrated visiting ancestors graves, praying before the ancestors, and presenting them with gifts. They also sweep the gravesites, that is why it is called Tomb Sweeping Day.

Confucius’ birthday is also celebrated (28th September).

They mainly celebrate holy days from other religions.

In Confucianism, there are not a lot of festivals but more of rituals some of the days that they celebrate:

  • Ching Ming (grave sweeping day) is 106 days after the winter solstice and the family makes offerings to the sprits of their relatives and ancestors. The offerings include food, clothes and money
  • Another festival is the birthday of Confucius birthday on the 28th September. This day is celebrated grandly.


Other than these two important days the confucianism. Other than this they only perform rituals and they also perform other festivals from other religions but they do not celebrate anything special for Confucianism.


The main holiday celebrated by Confucians is the birthday of Confucius. This occurs annually on September 28. The celebration starts with a short parade leading to the temple, where an animal is then sacrificed to Confucius. Afterwards, the Song of Peace is performed by singers and dancers. Later on in the festival, a pile of spirit money is burned along with written prayers. Then the temple gates are closed and everyone has a bite of a “wisdom cake”, which is a special rice cake.

Another important holiday is the Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb Sweeping Day. The date of the Qingming Festival is either April 4th of 5th. On this day, people pay their respects to their ancestors, by sweeping the graves and leaving flowers. Sometimes, the dead person’s favorite food will be left on the grave and a small pile of spirit money is burned. People also buy kites to fly.


How many gods does the religion have?
Confucianism is a religion which does not include a God, although some may see Confucius as a god. Confucius, himself, made sacrifices to spirits. There isn't anything about a god but there are prayers to a supreme being.
Confucianism has no official gods, but Confucius never denied the existence of an all-powerful entity or a reality beyond the mortal life.
Confucianism does not have a god. Confucius is considered a god by some of his followers. However Confucius believed in taoism (道). He believed in Yin and Yang (阴阳). Yin and Yang (阴阳) is the belief that all living things have light and dark. It is the belief that dark cannot exist without light, and light cannot live without dark. Those are the closest thing they have to gods.

Confucianism does not have a God. The religion is panthentic meaning that the there is no god but the whole universe shows god. Many claim that Confucius is a God himself, but other than that there is no other being that has being claimed as God.


How do the followers contact or pray to their gods?
In the temples there is a hall, “Dacheng Hall”, which is there for offering sacrifices to Confucius. For praying one has to enter through the Hong gate and then through the Li gate, which represents the ritual and respect for Confucius. Then, to get to the Dacheng Hall, one has to go through the Lingxing gate and the Yi gate. Once one is in the Dacheng Hall, one shows the offering. Also, one offers 3 cups of tea. After that one performs the Zhugao ritual. The Zhugao is a ritual where one, according to Confucian Culture”, “holds fists in hands and folds arms in front of chest, then respectfully looks at the tablet of Confucius and says one’s basic status and wishes”. After this ritual one bows three times and beats the wishing bell once.

The person must enter the temple area by first going through the hong gate then entering the Li gate which represents respect to Confucius . After these two gate the person must enter the Lingxing gate and the Yi gate which leads in the Dacheng hall where first the person must display offerings in odd number of items. Also offer three cups of tea with these items. After the offerings are shown, the person must commence the Zhugao ritual. First the person must cross their hands against their chest and face the tablet of Confucius and says their basic status and wishes or wills. After the ritual is complete the person must bow down three times and stikes the wishing bell once. Even though there are prayers to Confucius, Confucianism is not a religion with practises , it only has teachings.

As mentioned earlier, Confucians do not have a god to pray to. But there are prayers that can be said that honor Confucius.



What are the rules? What do people have to do in their lifetime?
Confucius said that the heavens and the afterlife were too complex for us humans to understand, therefore one should live life to its fullest. Confucius taught an attitude to life. He also taught that one should respect. One should respect other cultures, teachers, parents, and elders.
To live life to the fullest, a Confucianist must develop their moral potential, help others, and to fulfill one’s social obligations like being a good husband or father. There are also 5 virtues taught by Confucius. They are Ren, Li, Yi, Zhi, and Xin. Ren means humanity but is best expressed by saying “Do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you.” Li is etiquette. Yi means righteousness. Xin is integrity. Zhi is knowledge.
A Confucianist must live fully and not live for the afterlife that they are going to live in. Also a person must respect everyone. The person must fulfil their duties or responsibilities in the society and at home.
Confucius believed in “shu”, or reciprocity. “Treat others how you want to be treated”.
Confucius also had seven steps to an ideal society:
1. The investigation of things and variables to find their nature and to determine how they’re connected.

2. The completion of knowledge. Determining why things are the way they are, why they are related. This is truth, or Tao, and the discovery of Tao empowers a person’s transformation.
3. Sincerity of thought. The desire for transformation and change in accordance with Tao must be sincere. Sincerity reaches full expression in the ability to foreknow.
4. Correct the heart. It is important to have proper motivations for change, motivations that are good for the self and for society as a whole. Virtue and a moral self is the goal, and it is achieved through the integration of Ren (Humanity), Yi (Righteousness), Li (Respect), and wisdom. This will free the self from evil and provide the moral courage and the ability to be good.
5. Cultivation of the person. Integrating the knowledge self (steps one and two) and the moral self (steps three and four) through self-discipline, or education, and self-improvement.
6. Regulating the family. The practice of self-discipline within the family through honoring parents, respecting and caring for siblings and loving children. Understanding the weakness of those one likes, appreciating the strength of those one dislikes, toward the end of avoiding prejudice and disharmony.
7. Governance of the state. A good state will provide public education, will set policies to care for vulnerable people, make policies based on public opinion, appoint and elect capable, moral people, and apply the principles of “mean” management. Good public administration should lead to the ideal harmonious state.
Confucius also had five important human relationships that should be governed by Li.
1. Ruler and subject
2. Father and son
3. Husband and wife
4. Oldest son and younger brothers
5. Elders and juniors (friends)


Are there any sacred books? What are they called?

There are four books and five scriptures. The books are Analects, Mencius, The Higher Education, and The Doctrine of the Mean and the scriptures are the Shih, which is the Book of Poetry, Shu, which is the Book of History, Yi, which is the Book of Changes, Li, the Book of Rites, Ch'un-Ch'iu, Spring and Autumn Annals. (Annals = historical records)
There is also a book of music but it is sometimes included in the book of Rites. The Book of Music is now lost.


Confucius used six books to teach his followers.

  • Classic of Poetry
  • Book of Documents
  • Book of Rites
  • Book of Music
  • Classic of Change
  • Spring and Autumn Annals
The six books can be written in one word, “诗书礼乐易春秋”.

The Classic of Poetry contains hymns, odes, and poems.
The Book of Documents contains a record of events, such as major speeches.
The Book of Rites contains the laws recognized by the people.
The Book of Music has been lost over time but contained rituals.
The Classic of Change was about methods of divination.
Most of the Spring and Autumn Annals has been lost but what we have has a record of diplomatic relations, wars, and other historical events.
There are six sacred books, or six books that confucius taught to his followers.
They are:

  1. Classic Of Poetry(shijing), which is a collection of former prophecies.
  2. Book Of Documents(shujing).
  3. Book Of Rites (liji) is a collection of former laws.
  4. Classic Of Music (yuejing)which is a collection of former rituals.
  5. I Ching(yijing) this book is described as a classic of all classics.
  6. Spring And Autumn Annals(chunqiu), which are annuals of the whole land at that period.
There are four Scriptures :
  1. Mencius
  2. Analects
  3. The Great Education
  4. The Doctrine of mean

There are also the five classics:

  1. The classic of poetry: This book contains poems, folk songs and festival songs hymns.
  2. The Book of Documents: This book contains important speeches from the Zhou time period.
  3. Book of Rites: this book contains laws that are to be followed by the people.
  4. The Classic of Changes: This book contains methods of divination.
  5. The Spring and Autumn annals these books contained historical events such as wars and other historical events.




What do the holy buildings look like?
The Confucian temple is the holy building that confucianism has. In traditional Chinese it is spelled 孔廟. In simplified Chinese it is 孔庙. The oldest Confucian temple is in Qufu, which was the hometown of Confucius. Qufu is in the Shandong Province, which is in the east of China.

A Confucian temple is similar to a Tao temple.from the outside first the there are four gates leading to the stairs of the temple and then that is leading into the Dacheng hall where the rituals and prayers are performed.
Confucianism Temple 2.jpg
There is the temple of confucius in Qufu.
here is what the building looks like:external image DUS8uCDSU1T_GSKRTXwV3vtvHKtTUkH76J7j48Om4UP-iCXKhWmNp5_-5NFnDFs9Ow8E5lLmtDotjwHOhIlhKGA-FtGFBhcP7ZIlkOK1j7Psu0w_8ylz
And here is a picture of a pillar with a colourful design on it:
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Confucian temples are attractive buildings built in honor of the contributions that Confucius made to Chinese culture.
The styles of architecture in temples are different, depending on the region.
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In this example of a Confucian temple, you can see the statues of Confucius and the traditional chinese architecture.

What happens to you when you die?

According to Confucius, humans can not understand what the afterlife is about. Humans shouldn’t act based on rewards that will be received in the afterlife.

Confucius said that the heavens and the afterlife were too complex for us humans to understand, therefore one should live life to its fullest. Confucianism is more about living in the moment than worrying about what will happen when one dies.

Confucius believed that life after death was not for humans to learn about and that they should not act and base their daily choices to have a pleasant afterlife, but base their choices on the world they are living in at the moment. And everyone must do good deeds not to have good afterlife.

Are there any religious symbols and writing?
In Confucianism there are a few religious symbols. The Yin Yang is one of them. Although it is often associated to Taoism, it is also a symbol of Confucianism. Yin and Yang means “shadow and light”. It represents how opposites are connected. Another symbol is the Confucian Symbol. The Confucian Symbol is used in wedding ceremonies and it also represents Confucianism. Righteousness and harmony within oneself and others is represented by this symbol. The Ideogram is a symbol in Confucianism that symbolizes water. It represents the source of life.
The religious writings are the books and scriptures. For more information on these books and scriptures go to “Are there any sacred books? What are they called?“, which is written further up this page.
One of the symbols is the Yin and Yang which is more of a Tao symbol, but it is used in Confucianism. It is shows light and shadow, and how they connect.
Yin-Yang.jpeg


There is also the Li which shows harmony and righteous with yourself and others.This symbol is also used in weddings, the symbol represents Confucianism.

faith confucism.gif


Another symbol is the ideogram which represents water. It represents the source of life.

external image confucianism_symbol2.png


There are no religious writing except for the scared writing.


One Confucian symbol is the Taiji, also known as the yin yang. Taiji means “Great Ultimate. Yin yang mean shadow and light which explains the symbol, because the yin yang has complementing sides, not opposing. There can not be shadow without light. It can represent unity.

The next is the symbol for water. It is sometime used as the Confucian Symbol because water represents life.

The last symbol is sometimes used to represent Confucianism. It is often used at weddings because it represents harmony, righteousness, and relationships.external image HuX__WXQX0tGirb96LJLGRhBpJ_F91JkUzp2AjePbIusqNnePVXnjs_hEO5eGts_ifHTohPkF3TmqOSSQqn8d22zwPZDCcZYMi_zi4rl-Ntf6t7rhMHh external image 7KD-723vPab6zqOi2BrarD67VjrL9iCNpA3daJs_9B7B9jdUrMJZDSAt6WkgKrtNI37kHvTDUea417gAIX9LsIGsHWRqXHXAf8V441EGWvmbfUBIsS44 external image BwAfT4dtI6l58ssDOwmkVr-5Yh7M330E0yNEGAu8Z9mKFUaGhFcClZSt1aHdTyeNFFF6bMJsuHzTLxWgNbsn_MYEieUZ1JiW9_Po7r17o42U8_ghCBeN

1st Image: Yin Yang 2nd Image: Symbol of Water 3rd Image: Symbol of Harmony

Is there any special clothing?
In Confucian rituals or important people wear a form of dress. These “dresses” can be a Xuanduan (玄端), which is a dark robe, Shenyi (深衣), which is an outfit that covers the whole body, a Quju (曲裾), which is a diagonal body wrapping, a Zhiju (直裾), which is a straight lapel. A lapel is “The part on each side of a coat or jacket immediately below the collar that is folded back.”

One special clothing is the xuanduan, a dark robe that reaches to the knees and has long sleeves. It is worn with a red chang and a long black guan. A chang is a pleated skirt and a guan is a formal hat. As the photo below shows, this can be worn by men or women.

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There is a Xuanduan which is a dark robe that has long and loose sleeves it is usually won with a skirt called Chang. Another clothing is the Hafu which is a simple silk robe. These are formal wear. There are also informal wear that people wear on regular basis.

These are some of the informal wear:
  • Shanqun: A short coat with a long skirt
  • Ruqun: A top garment with a lower garment or Skirt
  • Kuzhe: A short coat with pants

There are many more such clothing but these are the most important.


Where is the religion most common?
Confucianism is most common in China, matter of fact, it is one of the 3 main religions in China.

Confucianism is most common in China.
Confucianism is most common in China, where it was founded.
How many people believe in the religion?
Confucianism has around 5,000,000 followers.
About 6.3 million people follow Confucianism today.

There are 5,000,000 people who follow Confucianism today.




What rituals do the people take part in?
One of the most common rituals Confucianists take part in is ancestor worship. Ancestor worship is communicating with and offering sacrifices to their ancestors. This ritual had been around in prehistoric times, before Confucius himself was alive, and was a big part of Chinese culture.

How do people who follow Confucianism deal with death?
The word that a someone is dead gets out by neighbours hearing loud cries from family members of the dead person. The dead person will be washed and then put in a coffin with food and objects that have meaning to the person who has died. At the funeral, family members will be wearing clothes made out of a rough material. A priest will do the burial rituals before the coffin is taken to the grave. When it is taken it is followed by a willow branch. This branch represents the soul of the dead person. Then, with that branch they return to a shrine in the home, where they place the branch. This branch is put on the altar. This is done to represent the presence of the dead family member. The 7th, 9th, and 49th days after the death of the person are important.

How did Kong Qiu get the name Confucius?

Kong got the name Confucius because Kong was called K'ung fu Tzu meaning Master Kong, later the name was translated into Latin to Confucius so he was called Confucius.

Why did Confucius want to create a new religion ?

During Kong's childhood he lived in poverty and he saw the suffering of the common people and his own life. This was because of the wars beween the kings of the time. So he was determined to create a new religion which works on education so if a poor man is educated and talented he will be moved up the social status and if a noble man is not talented he will be moved down. So the religion is based on that noble deeds, but not noble birth that restores honor on a man.




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