Early Chinese worldview assumptions
Chinese can be, simultaneously, a Buddhist, Confucian, and a Taoist.
• Universe is lawful, but
no outside lawgiver
, no Almighty God who judges the
sins of each person.
• Stress on
(day and night, seasonal rotation), growth and
decline ( waxing and waning of the moon, plant life).
Life is bi-polar
Opposites are necessary and complimentary,
they merge with
each other, become the opposite.
passive, female, receptive, dark, night, cold, soft,
: active, male, creative, light, day, heat, hard, dry, summer.
Everything a combo of these two, contain the seed of the opposite tendency within
themselves. Ceaseless flow of change. Constantly turning, interchanging places. All
dualities, however, are resolved in the symbol of the all-embracing circle, the unity of
Explicit duality expresses an implicit unity.
Opposites are phases of a
Life is not linear, but circular.
: wood (east, green, liver); fire (south, red, heart); earth (center,
yellow, spleen); metal (west, white, lungs); water (north, black, kidneys).
physical and mental, made of combinations of these elements.
ceaselessly interacting, transforming and replacing each other (e.g., water overcoming
fire, fire burning wood).
: everything has a spirit. The world is not purely material,
not something foreign.
Humans are an integral part of natural order.
(morally good or bad) affect the external world.
Therefore, need to look for signs.
Signs are important: they tell people whether they are in line with the Tao of nature. So
if people (esp. important people, like emperor or local rep of emperor) perform good
actions, are just, perform the correct sacrifices/rituals in the correct way at the correct
time: then sunshine and rain in the right amounts, good crops etc.
However, if bad
actions, then natural disasters, plagues, droughts, diseases, etc.
Many different spiritual beings
Personified forces of nature, heavenly bodies,
ghosts, demons, spirits of ancestors, gods and goddesses.
All live in an unseen but very
real spiritual world that can and does interact with everyday reality.
Spirits of ancestors
are the most important, but also spirits of animals, plants, stones, stars, rivers,