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Kung Fu Tzu commonly pronounced Confucius in English was born in 551 BCE in the state of Lu modern day Shantung Province He lived during the Chou dynasty and era known for its moral laxity Later in life he wandered through many states of China giving advice to their rulers He accumulated a small band of students during this time The last years of his life were spent back in Lu where he devoted himself to teaching His writings deal primarily with individual morality and ethics and the proper exercise of political power by the rulers In China and some other areas in Asia the social ethics and moral teachings of Confucius are blended with the Taoist communion with nature and Buddhist concepts of the afterlife to form a set of complementary peacefully co-existent and ecumenical religions There are approximately 6 million Confucians in the world About 26000 live in North America almost all of the remainder are found throughout China and the rest of Asia Confucian ethical teachings include the following values Li includes ritual propriety etiquette etc Hsiao love within the family love of parents for their children and of children for their parents Yi righteousness Xin honesty and trustworthiness Jen benevolence humaneness towards others the highest Confucian virtue Chung loyalty to the state etc Confucianism does not contain all of the elements of some other religions like Christianity and Islam It is primarily an ethical system to which rituals at important times during ones lifetime have been added Since the time of the Han dynasty 206 CE four life passages have been recognized and regulated by Confucian tradition Birth The Tai-shen spirit of the fetus protects the expectant woman and deals harshly with anyone who harasses the mother to be A special procedure is followed when the placenta is disposed of The mother is given a special diet
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