What are the Beliefs of Confucianism?

What are the Beliefs of Confucianism ?

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We all have our own beliefs according to our religions that teach us the way of life, code of ethics, harmony, and humanity. We learn moral and ethical values from our faith. Different populations follow their own traditions and beliefs.


One such tradition is Confucianism, also called Ruism, which is a tradition or philosophy rather than a religion followed by Chinese people and has been developed and transformed for many years.

Confucianism is a philosophy about the way of life which is being followed for more than two millennia. It personifies the Chinese culture, their code of ethics, morality, and rituals.

In order to understand something in a better way, you must have knowledge about it. Confucianism teaches us that education is an important aspect of life to understand the things better.

1) What are the Beliefs of Confucianism ?

Confucianism is a philosophy of ethics, developed by Chinese philosopher Confucius (Kong Fuzi) in 6th-5th century BCE 🇨🇳. He was a profound leader who advised moral lessons to the country leaders.

Here I must include that when you aim to live in a society, you have to cultivate knowledge in yourself by endorsing your moral and ethical values. Confucius taught the same thing to his people to freshen their minds and souls by doing good deeds 👍🏻.

kong fuzi

Beliefs of Confucianism acknowledge us that:

  • Learn to improve yourself by following the footsteps of your forefathers (way of heaven).
  • Understand the essence of knowledge as advised by Confucius.
  • Encourage yourself to treat people with virtue and wisdom.
  • Be respectful to your elders.
  • Take care of your parents in their old age.
  • Pray for them with complete sincerity.

"The essence of knowledge is, having it, to apply it; not having it, to confess your ignorance." says Confucius.

A. The three core values of Confucianism

The Confucian values are like a tripod having three pillars. These pillars include Filial piety, ritual, and humaneness.

  1. Filial Piety

    The root of all the Confucian values is filial piety. Taking care of one’s parents, be fair to them, and respecting one’s ancestors, elders and parents is known as filial piety (孝, xiào) 👴🏻.

    The percept of filial piety is that children must respect older people who can be their parents, older siblings and forefathers. Providing them with food, money, and clothes is also a generous gesture of this belief.

    filial piety

    The primary principle of xiào illustrates that you should show respect and courtesy to elders, be affectionate with them, and fulfil their wishes. Many collections of stories depict filial piety; the most famous one is “The Twenty-Four Filial Exemplars”.

  1. Ritual Propriety

    The second Confucian value revolves around ritual consciousness or ritual. Ritual Confucian is called “expression of humanity” which means to do something in a proper way for someone (禮, ritual propriety) 💙.

    Ritual portrays the action of someone for the sake of society and humanity.

    ritual propriety

    I believe that rituals include tremendous and happy moments of your life, including first birth, marriage, death etc. Rituals also focus on other aspects of life, such as interactions with people or society.

    Ritual Confucian has a fundamental quality of building a shared and meaningful culture.

  1. Humaneness

    The last pillar of the tripod is Confucian humaneness which means how altruistic and self-sacrificing a person is. It portraits the virtue of a human being who shows care and concern for other people.


    confucius quote

    If we want to achieve peace and calmness in our lives, we should help others for the sake of humanity 🤝. Humaneness also focuses on it that how a well-established man helps others to establish them.

    Confucius once explained, "One should see nothing improper, hear nothing improper, say nothing improper, do nothing improper.

B. The Five Virtues

  1. Rén

    Rén describes humaneness and benevolence (仁). It is a Confucian virtue which personifies the selflessness and benevolence of a man. The example can be how a man becomes over-protective for his children and spouse (the essence of a human being).

  1. Righteousness and honesty (义; 義) describe this Confucian ideal. These are very fundamental concepts which revolve around the code of ethics and their implementation. The example can be the moral disposition of a person to do something with honesty and sensibility.

  1. It describes the politeness or proper rite (礼; 禮) which is most extensively used in the Confucianism and other Chinese philosophies. Li emphasizes on the religious rites that help develop a connection of man with his god.

  1. Zhì

    It describes the power of knowledge (智). The example is a human being, who has knowledge about something. He should not restrain his knowledge to himself; rather, he should give his knowledge to others so that the other people could also differentiate between wrong and right.

  1. Xìn

    It explains the integrity (信) and emphasizes on the uprightness of people with one another.

C. The Five Relationships

  1. Father & son
  2. Husband & wife
  3. Older brother & younger brother
  4. Ruler & citizen
  5. Friend & friend

In order to make a relationship healthy, there’s a mutual understanding of two people. Each one of them respects the other and performs his best role to strengthen the relationship. Mutual respect, moral obligation, and faithfulness are the key aspects of a healthy relationship.

2) Who are the Founders of Confucianism ?

The founders of Confucianism were three men who described the concepts of Confucian beliefs in a 270-years period. They were Confucius, Mencius, and Xun Zi.

A. Confucius (551-479 BC)

Confucius was the creator of Confucianism. He was born in 551BC in China 🇨🇳. Confucius was a master in music, archery, charioteering, arithmetic, ritual, and calligraphy. He was being called “man of virtue” because of his high moral values.


His philosophical ideas were favoured in Chinese culture.  He encouraged people how to be fair to others and be on a righteous path.

B. Mencius (371-289 BC)

Mencius was a great Confucian philosopher after Confucius. He wrote the book Mencius📙. He was born in Shandong and was very famous because he taught many rules at that time. In his book, he wrote about the goodness of people.


C. Xun Zi (313-230 BC)

Unlike Mencius, Xun Zi taught that human nature is wayward. It cannot be controlled and is naturally evil 😈. The virtuous teachers cultivate that badness from a man by training.

Xun Zi

The Jixia Academy of the kingdom of Qi tells that “Xun Zi's writings are systematic, wordy, and elaborately argued”.

3) Sacred Text in Confucianism

Sacred text in Confucianism is basically five classics and four books 📚. They describe the basics of Confucianism, e.g. what is it about, what the Confucian values are, and what role they play in Chinese culture.

The five classics and four books are called “Confucian canons” because they are the foundations of Confucianism.

A. The Five Classics

The five classics (Wǔjīng) are also called the five visions. In the later periods, the five classics were developed into thirteen classics. The five classics include the following:

  1. The Shujing

    It is also called “classic of history” or “book of documents”. It involves the collection of major events in Chinese culture and speeches from the major rulers. The sermons are from the early Zhou period and depict the early Chinese prose.

  1. The Shijing

    It is the Classic of poetry which includes about 305 poems (105 festival songs, 40 hymns, and 160 folk songs). The anthology of these Chinese poems and songs narrate that songs and poems greatly influence human thoughts, emotions, and responsiveness.

  1. The Liji (Li Ching)

    It is the record of rites which portrays the recreation of ancient rites, social forms and court ceremonies that were lost during Qin book purge. It also describes that there’s a cooperation between the “four categories of people” (merchant, scholar, farmer, and artisan).

  1. The Yijing

    It is called classic of changes and is the earliest classic known. This classic explains how the Confucianism followers practice by divination system (divination rituals of China). The popular writing of religion are included in this classic and still used today.

  1. The Ch’un Ching

    These are called the Spring and Autumn Annals. It is the collective record of State of Lu (Confucius’s native) which existed in spring and autumn.

the five classics

B. The Four Books

  1. Analects (LunYu)

    In the Warring States period during spring and autumn, this book was written. The Kongzi’s teachings have been described in the Analects. This book emphasizes on self-learning and self cultivation. The first step towards a better life is to devote you to learning. Filial piety, ritual, and virtue have also described being important in the Analects.

  1. The Doctrine of the Mean (Chung Yung)

    Maintaining Perfect Balance & the Constant Mean are the translated versions of this book. Kongzi’s grandson is attributed and honored in this book for maintaining harmony and balance in life. This book acknowledges people to distinguish between right and wrong. It depicts the rulers. The rulers that are not capable of maintaining a balance are considered as ineffective.

  1. The Great Learning (Ta Hsueh)

    As the name describes, this book also emphasizes on self-learning as well as self-cultivation. By investigating and learning things in life, we can comprehend the world in a better way.

  1. Mencius (Meng Tzu)

    This book illustrates the conversations between Kongzi and Mencius. Mencius has portrayed the good human nature in this book. A human is born with good moral values and righteousness; he only needs to find these values in himself y self-cultivation.

the 4 books

4) Symbols of Confucianism

The symbols of Confucianism represent the beliefs and values in Confucian philosophy. There are four symbols:

Confucius Symbol

This symbol represents harmony and dignity in one’s life. It also describes the moral conduct of people in society.

symbol of confucius

    The Chinese Character for Water

    In Chinese philosophy, this symbol represents “water as a source of life” 💧. There are five elements in Chinese Philosophy; water, wood, earth, metal, and fire.

    water character

    The Chinese Character for Scholar

    This symbol represents self-awareness and knowledge. Confucius encouraged the idea of education and knowledge in Chinese culture and described it to be very important in one’s life 🎓.

    character scholar

    Yin Yang

    This symbol has various meanings in different Chinese philosophies. ☯ It is represented by a circle which is described as a whole. The dots and halves in the circle represent balance, opposites, and interactions.

    yin and yang symbol

    If you like the Yin Yang symbol you will probably love our collection of Yin Yang Tapestry. Decorate your home with the spirit of the Tao and add a touch of spirituality to any room in your house ! 👇🏻

    Yin Yang Tapestry Collection

    5) Conclusion

    Confucianism is a Chinese philosophy and a tradition which narrates the behavior and action of a human being towards other human beings.

    It teaches the self-cultivation and self-awareness and describes a connection between man and his god. Confucius founded this Confucianism to bring peace, awareness, and stability in society ☮.

    Moral and ethical concerns are a part of every society. We must perform our best role to grow our society and culture.

    1 comment

    • Steve Hyne

      Thanks for your balanced overview, instinctively I knew the principles and read the analects everyday and my quest for knowledge and learning is my essence.

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