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Chinese Religion 1 - CHINESE RELIGIONS Chinese history...

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CHINESE RELIGIONS Chinese history - linked to series of dynasties earliest archaeological evidence - from Shang dynasty (c. 17th-11th c. BCE) - belief in Supreme Being ( Shangdi) • Zhou Dynasty (c. 1100-256 BCE) - concept of Tian (generally translated as “Heaven”) Characteristic of ancient Chinese belief: - many active spirits/ deities - veneration of ancestors (cult of ancestors, power of ancestors, after they die they still have a presence and force in everyday life) - focus on ritual, in order to connect with spirits - discerning patterns in the natural world, including divination manual of divination - Yijing (I Ching) - designated around 64 sets of hexagrams complementary forces of the universe - yang and yin - light/ dark, hot/ cold, male/ female, etc. - taijitu symbol - general to Chinese tradition, not just Taoism emphasis on balance and harmony emphasis on figure of the wise sage emphasis on syncretism confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism - ‘ the three philosophies ’ (or doctrines ) Confucianism • Confusius - Latinized form of Kongfuzi (“Master Kong”) - actual name - Kong Qiu (6th c. BCE) - worked in a civil service, teacher - ideal of scholar-sage-gentleman - lived ini tumultuous period - emphasis on social order Is Confucianism a religion? - societal order is conforming to heaven - reference to Tian and following “Heavens Will” - however, there is no systematic theology and cosmology key concepts: - shu (“reciprocity”) - “silver rule” - do not do to others as you do not want done to yourself -Five relationships - ruler/minister and subject; father and son; husband and wife; elder and younger brother; friend and friend (or elder and junior) -xiao (“fillial piety”) - relates to ancestor worship - you have a responsibility to your elders and your family in particular, you take care of them and have a social duty to respect them and their spirits -ren (“goodness” or “humaneness”) -li (“ritual propriety”) - emphasis on formality of reltionships - “ritual” doesn’t mean religious ritual, but it means rituals of social behaviour emphasis on virtuous character - ideal of junzi (“superior person”)
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- requires proper training - inherently social primary texts - the Five Classics - Book of Changes (Yijing) - Book of History (accounts of past royalty) - Book of Poetry/ Odes - Classic of Rites
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