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Confucianism has been a major hallmark of Chinese culture for more than 2,000 years. Whether it is a religion in the strictest sense or just a philosophy of living remains controversial. Confucianism was popularized in the northern regions of China from 571-479BC. The founder, Confucius, was equalized with the heavenly god in 1906 and worshipped as a deity.

During the times of Confucius, the region was in immense poverty, corruption and turmoil. The rulers became richer whereas the people suffered from anxiety and dying of starvation. The sage himself came from an impecunious family of the nobility in the state of Lu, west of Shandong Province. He tried many times to gain office with some of the feudal lords but to no avail. Hence, he journeyed around with his 3,000 disciples and trained them in his philosophy. Among his manifold disciples, 72 of them were extremely gifted scholars who are still worshiped today.

His inspiring literatures, rites, and music had made an impact on the scholarly life in China. The sage's thoughts were never published in a book but were recorded by his loyal students in a collection dubbed the 'Lunyu' (Conversations). Classic works on Confucianism are: 'Shijing' (the Book of Songs), 'Shujing' (the Book of Charters) 'Liji' (the Book of Rites), 'Chunqiu' (the Spring and Autumn Animals), and 'Yijing' (the Book of Changes).

Confucianism focuses on the philosophy of law and order. Following the universe and its laws of nature, a person should live within the framework of world order. According to Confucius, man can be taught ethical principles. He sustained that each member of the society should fulfill his or her role - from family relationships to patriotism to king and country - to achieve an ideal social order. Respect and loyalty are the main traits that enhance the development of social order in a community.

In the 12th Century, Confucianism was combined to the transcendental biases of Buddhism and Taoism, thus resulting in the parturition of neo-Confucianism, which to this century is the basis of all state civil-service examinations for Chinese officialdom. Teachings about the creation of the microcosm and macrocosm, as well as the metaphysical element of Chinese ethics are instilled in this subgroup.

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