Confucius - BeforeBuddhism,. ,

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China has a completely different culture zone and way of conceptualizing than South Asia.        Before Buddhism, there was NO notion of karma or reincarnation. That is all Indian influence.  There is a whole pantheon of gods that presided over heaven and the regional gods of China, but we are not going to look  at them, but rather at the two religious/philosophies of Confucius and Lao-tsu.   China has  much  more documentation than early India. The government was extremely beaurcratic and kept records of  everything.   Shang Dynasty: 1600 - 1122 BCE Already a civilization; they lived in cities and they had systems of writing.  Simple farming society, with warriors as the top class, then skilled bronze workers, then farmers.  Pictographs; not the same as the characters we recognize now, but pictorial representations of concepts, much  like the Egyptian hieroglyphs.  Divination: "Li". Ancestral rituals.  The system of telling the future by bones, is one of the earliest forms of religious ideas, in the forms of  messages to ancestors, not Gods. They were called "Oracle Bones" and had questions written on  them. "Is it a good time to harvest?" or "Should I declare war?" etc etc. The bones would be tossed as a sacrifice to the ancestors, and after they had cooled down, they  would interpret the meanings in the cracks that had developed from the heat. The Chinese ordinary understanding of a family is  huge . They think in terms of clans. The word for one of these  families is "zu". These families are patrilineal, patrilocal, and patriarchal.  Membership in the family passes through the males, including land, etc. The power is held by the  males. They tend to live with the males family. Females don't inherit anything, and really have no position.
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2010 for the course REL 2029 taught by Professor Meshal during the Spring '08 term at LSU.

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Confucius - BeforeBuddhism,. ,

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