Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Confucianism is a philosophy that is also sometimes considered a religion. It developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551–479 BCE). Confucianism is a set of moral values that is meant to create order and harmony in society and that concentrates on the idea of "ren," or humanity. In this sense, Confucianism is a humanistic creed that focuses on creating meaning in everyday life rather than only on the afterworld. Another idea central to Confucianism is "li," or proper rites and practices. To create a harmonious social order, Confucianism relies on each person knowing his or her proper role in society. This order is built on five relationships, which include ruler to subject, parent to child, husband to wife, older brother (or sibling) to younger brother (or sibling), and friend to friend. In each relationship, the second person in the order must be loyal and obey the wishes of the first or dominant person (friends, however, are equals). If each person follows the duties in each relationship, the society becomes more harmonious. To some degree, Confucianism is still practiced in China and other parts of Asia. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Confucianism is a Chinese philosophy brought about by the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius. Confucianism is, at its basic level, humanism or the belief that humans are capable of learning, improving themselves, and becoming perfect through self exploration and cultivation. Confucianism is an ideology and does not include a belief in a personal god.  

During the Han Dynasty the Five Constants, or Wuchang, were developed by Confucian Scholars.

The five virtues are:
Rén (Humaneness)
Yì (Justice)
Lǐ (Manners)
Zhì (Wisdom)
Xìn (Integrity)

There are MANY other elements to Confucianism but Rén and Yì are considered the fundamental elements.

Countries influenced by Confucianism include but are not limited to China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. The teachings of Confucianism still prevail today in these regions, but few actually call themselves Confucians in modern times.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial