The Confucian doctrine, China

Confucianism - the Dominant Religion of Ancient China

 Beijing Confucian Temple located in Dongcheng DistrictConfucianism is one of the oldest religious and philosophical doctrines of China. Its founder, a high-ranking official and Chinese philosopher Confucius, lived in the VI century BC.

It should be noted that Confucianism up to the XX century was considered the China’s main religion for a long time. Under several Chinese dynasties, Confucianism was considered to be the state religion. The whole system of government relations in China was based on the philosophy and ethics of this religion.

Confucianism was born and received wide circulation in the territory of the modern province of Shandong, the place of birth and life of Confucius. There is a good reason, that Confucianism was the state religion for a long time. This teaching itself has a clear socio-political orientation. It was helpful in strengthening the authority of the Emperor and the positions of the bureaucracy, Confucius belonged to.

The basis of the doctrine is a concept of Heavens and the heavenly command, which determines the fate. In China, the emperors were always honored as children of Heavens, so their power over thousands of years was incontestable. Also, one of the most important rules of Confucianism is the concept of “xiao” - the reverence and respect for the elders. Confucius also developed a system of "li" – the etiquette that governs human behavior in different situations.

Based on these Confucianism rules, Confucius also developed a unique political system, which was successfully operating for nearly three thousand years. He supported a strict hierarchy of the power, where over the people there were officials, who in their turn were controlled by the emperor. However, Confucius meant that all rulers should follow the path of self-improvement and care for their people’s needs.

In contemporary China, Confucianism is not a common religion as, say, Buddhism, Taoism, and even Islam. However, this religion made an enormous contribution to the development of China and as of today is an integral part of the ancient Chinese philosophy.