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Confucianism major system of thought in China developed from the teachings of Confucius and his disciples and concerned with the principles of good conduct practical wisdom and proper social relationships Confucianism has influenced the Chinese attitude toward life set the patterns of living and standards of social value and provided the background for Chinese political theories and institutions It has spread from China to Korea Japan and Vietnam and has aroused interest among Western scholars Although Confucianism became the official ideology of the Chinese state it has never existed as an established religion with a church and priesthood Chinese scholars honored Confucius as a great teacher and sage but did not worship him as a personal god Nor did Confucius himself ever claim divinity Unlike Christian churches the temples built to Confucius were not places in which organized community groups gathered to worship but public edifices designed for annual ceremonies especially on the philosophers birthday Several attempts to deify Confucius and to proselyte Confucianism failed because of the essentially secular nature of the philosophy The principles of Confucianism are contained in the nine ancient Chinese works handed down by Confucius and his followers who lived in an age of great philosophic activity These writings can be divided into two groups the Five Classics and the Four Books The Wujing Wu Ching Five Classics which originated before the time of Confucius consist of the I Ching Book of Changes Shujing Shu Ching Book of History Shijing Shih Ching Book of Poetry Liji Li Chi Book of Rites and Chunqiu Chun-chiu Spring and Autumn Annals The I Ching is a manual of divination probably compiled before the 11th century BC its supplementary philosophical portion contained in a series of appendixes may have been written later by Confucius and his disciples The Shujing is a collection of ancient historical documents and the Shijing an anthology of ancient poems The Liji deals with the principles of
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