Confucius (551B.C. - 479B.C.) is regarded as a great philosopher and a great sage of China. For more than 2,000 years, the ideas of Confucius have influenced Chinese culture, which in turn sculpted the world-view of neighboring countries such as Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia.
Confucianism is a major system of thought in China, developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius and his disciples, and concerned with the principles of good conduct, practical wisdom, and proper social relationships. Confucianism has influenced the Chinese attitude toward life, set the patters of living and standards of social value, and provided the background for Chinese political theories and institutions. Although Confucianism became the official ideology of the state, it has never existed as an established religion with a church and priesthood. Chinese scholars honored Confucius as a great teacher and sage, but did not worship him as a personal god. Nor did Confucius ever claim divinity. The principles of Confucianism are contained in nine ancient Chinese works handed down by Confucius and his followers. These teachings can be divided into two groups: the Five Classics and the Four Books.
The keynote of Confucian ethics is ren, variously translated as "benevolence", "love", "goodness", and "humanity". In personal relations, ren is manifested in zhong, or faithfulness to oneself and others, and shu, or decency. Other important Confucian virtues include righteousness (yi), propriety (li), wisdom (zhi), trustworthiness (xin), and filial piety (xiao).Photo Gallery of Chinese Confucianism