The philosophical framework of Confucianism originates from the teachings of Confucius, known in modern Chinese as Kongzi, who was born in 551 BCE. Confucius established a doctrine based upon morality, ethics and leadership by example. Together with other teachings and works of art, these principles were compiled by Confucius and his followers in The Five Classics, the canonical works of Confucianism. Although many of Confucius’s teachings were based upon the beliefs of the ancient Zhou dynasty, the general teachings of Confucianism evolved and were built upon by key figures such as Confucius’s grandson Zisi and his disciple Mencius. Confucianism entered its heyday under Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty who reigned from 141–87 BCE and endorsed the Confucian doctrine in the training programme of government officials. In this way, the Confucian teachings permeated Chinese society as a set of principles which were taught and practised by different classes across the Chinese kingdoms.
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