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date: 23 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses how one becomes a Confucian in Chinese society. Unlike the conversion process in religious traditions that have a clear initiation ritual such as baptism, there is no clear step in Confucianism that marks such transformation. The process of becoming a Confucian in most cases is a gradual process that involves social and religious rituals, education in the Confucian canon, moral self-cultivation, as well as participation in certain Confucian social institutions. Historically, to become a Confucian in China is not about the renunciation of other religious beliefs or the exclusion of other religious practices but rather a deepening of one’s bonds in a given community, and a consolidation of one’s multiple religious, social, and cultural identities. This chapter proposes a typology that identifies Confucian practices, including Confucius worship, ancestral rites, and what can be called “cultural Confucianism.”

Keywords: Confucianism, Confucian, China, self-cultivation, ritual practice, ancestral rites, cultural Confucianism

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