Confucianism is an ethical system practiced in China and other East Asian countries such as Japan and Korea. Confucian ethics arose in the turbulent “axial age” in ancient China (ca. 600–200 BCE), when warring states violently fought for dominance, creating a climate for Confucius and other scholars to seek answers to questions about human nature, morality, and social harmony. In seeking to build a harmonious society, Confucius found his answer in Ren, humaneness, the highest level of virtue encompassing a variety of lesser virtues, such as reverence, tolerance, trustworthiness, keenness, and kindness. Attaining Ren, thus, involves achieving other virtues, such as courage, prudence, cautiousness in talking, and propriety. In short, Ren is a lofty ideal for people to aspire to. Confucius himself admitted that he ...

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