Kong Fuzi (“Master Kong”), known as Confucius to Western cultures, was a wise man who lived in China from 551 to 479 BCE. His teachings focused on the proper relationships between people, including respect for one’s parents and ancestors, and the creation of a harmonious society based on virtue.
Kong Fuzi made no claim to holiness, and taught that living a good life is its own reward. After his death, his teachings were developed by his followers and spread to Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. His followers worship his soul as a great ancestor.
Confucianism consists of five classic texts—History, Poetry, Rituals, Seasons, and the I Ching, or Book of Changes. The I Ching helped people cope with uncertainty by offering them the chance to predict the future.