Based on the teachings of Confucius (551 to 479 BCE), Confucianism originated in China where, dominant for more than 2000 years, it influenced poetry, history, government, and social life.

Confucianism professed the ‘Golden Rule’ – treat others as you wish to be treated. It believed in one’s innate moral sense and that one must demonstrate goodness with good deeds. Confucius taught that one fully achieved potential within the family, where we all have duties and obligations. We see from his five human relationships: father/son, husband/wife, older brother/younger brother, friend/friend, and ruler/subject that Confucius was patriarchal, favouring age over youth, valuing family and encouraging respect for authority, which was most appreciated by Japan’s emperors.

The Confucianism that entered Japan in the 6th century trusted in the yin/yang forces and the five elements: wood, metal, fire, water, and earth. Confucianism believed in ancestral worship and harmony between people and nature.

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