K'ung Fu Tzu (Confucius) was born in 551 BCE in the state of Lu in China. He traveled throughout China giving advice to its rulers and teaching. His teachings and writings dealt with individual morality and ethics, and the proper exercise of political power. He stressed the following values:
Jen: benevolence and goodness towards others; the highest Confucian virtue. It is the ideal relationship which should pertain between people.
Chung-tzu: the ideal term of relations, loyalty to the state, True Manhood, the Superior Man. The kind of gentlemanliness or lady that is not just courteous but the manners on the outside of the package that indicates the truth of the person inside. It is the person who is entirely real.
Li: ritual, propriety, etiquette, etc. It is the well-conducted life which comes from the heart and mind of each person. It is not just outward ritual, ceremony propriety each these English words hint. Li comes from the deepest motivations of the soul.
Hsiao: love among family members. Virtue of properly serving one's parents. It is a child's obligation to both living and dead parents.
Xin: honesty and trustworthiness
Wen: art, the art of music and poetry, the art of all things, the art of governing
Unlike most religions, Confucianism is primarily an ethical system with rituals at important times during one's lifetime. The most important periods recognized in the Confucian tradition are birth, reaching maturity, marriage, and death.
Through his writings in the "Analects," Confucius emphasized the practice of moral values, especially humaneness or love (jen) and filiality (hsiao). These were exemplified by the "Noble Person" and expressed within the five ethical relations between husband and wife, parent and child, ruler and minister, older and younger siblings, and friend and friend.
Human nature is affirmed as being good and having potential for realizing the four virtues of humanity, righteousness, propriety, and wisdom
Though the religion placed stress on training prospective leaders in humane government and the gentlemanly arts, religion itself was secondary to the ethical and political lessons. Religion was important through rituals. Sacrifices of food, grains, etc. were properly performed to ancestral spirits at appropriate times during meals and after receiving certain gifts.
Beliefs and Practices:
All humanity is good and always striving to be better, be loyal and live upright.
The focus is on comprehensive truths rather than logic. They feel the more comprehensive the closer it is to the truth.
Confucianists put an emphasis on sympathizing over others when they are suffering. They are always searching for a higher sense of sympathy for people.
This belief system also entails the belief that the ultimate personal harmony in life are the relationships one has with: ruler to subject, parent to child, husband to wife, older to younger, and friend to friend. Nothing to do with a relationship with God. No relationship unless it is within human existence.
They do believe in a heaven, they call it T'ien, but that it is silent.
If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character.
If there be beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home.
If there be harmony in the home, there will be order in the home.
If there be order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.
Do not do unto others what you would not have others do to you