Body of teaching associated with the Chinese philosopher Confucius (c.551-479 BC).
Confucianism was the traditional state religion of China until the Communists suppressed it after the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s.
Confucian ideas are drawn from the five books of 'Analects' compiled from the sayings of Confucius himself and his disciples.
Although followers acknowledge the existence of a 'divine will' (ming), they place great emphasis upon the moral responsibility of man for his deeds. Men are born with innate goodness and must develop their capacity for greater wisdom through benevolence, self-control, and obedience to their own true nature.
Strict codes of social behavior and ritual sacrifice to one's ancestors are among the features of Confucianism, which still exerts a strong influence upon contemporary Chinese society and culture.
H G Creel, Confucius (New York, 1949; London, 1951)