Survey of World Religions - Exam 3
Terms in this set (94)
A medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease, and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life.
Analects of Confucius
Considered most influential book in Chinese literature. The title literally means "The Classic of the Way and Its
Power or Virtue."
Book of Mencius
Collection of anecdotes and conversations of the Confucian thinker and philosopher Mencius (371?-289 BCE- Chinese philosopher who studied Confucianism and later refined many of the ideas and spread them across China). Also known as Mengzi, or Meng-tzu.. The work dates from the second half of the 4th century BC.
The Chou or Zhou dynasty ruled China from about 1027 to about 221 B.C. It was the longest dynasty in Chinese history and the time when much of ancient Chinese culture developed.
Taoists followed strict dietary restrictions such as avoiding cereals and grains. Confucianism says that you need to eat fine quality foods such as rice and meats. Do not eat old or rotten food. Do not eat foods that have bad flavors. Do not eat foods that are not in season. You can drink wine and eat but not in excess. Eat ginger with every meal. Do not eat with your mouth full.
Duke of Ai
Duke Ai of Qin (died 501 BC) was from 536 to 501 BC the nineteenth ruler of the Zhou Dynasty state of Qin. He eventually united China to become the Qin Dynasty. His ancestral name was Ying, and Duke Ai was his posthumous title. Duke Ai succeeded his father Duke Jing of Qin, who died in 537 BC, as ruler of Qin.
Duke of Lu
Lu was a small, cultured state, constantly threatened by wars from its northern neighbor Qi.
A mystical group that seeks to
establish inner peace and physical health through a combination of meditation
In Confucian philosophy, filial piety is a virtue of respect for one's parents, elders, and ancestors.
The Han dynasty , 206 BC - 220 AD) was an imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin dynasty (221-207 BC) and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms (220-280 AD). It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin dynasty (9-23 AD) of the former regent Wang Mang.
Hung Hsiu-ch'üan , 1813-1864, June- Leader of the Taiping Rebellion, a native of Hua-hsien, Kwangtung and the third son of a poor Hakka family.
The I Ching, also known as the Classic of Changes or Book of Changes in English, is an ancient divination text and the oldest of the Chinese classics. The I Ching was originally a divination manual in the Western Zhou period, but over the course of the Warring States period and early imperial period was transformed into a cosmological text with a series of philosophical commentaries known as the "Ten Wings."
Eternal life or the ability to live forever.
Chinese name of Confucius. Means "Master Kung." "The master" of Confucianism Born 551 B.C.E.
The 52nd Earth King, born Kuei, was the ruler of the Earth Kingdom during the latter part of the Hundred Year War.
The virtue that addresses behaving properly given one's place in society.
Zhongxiang, Hubei province, China—(died August 1, 1979), archaeologist chiefly responsible for establishing the historical authenticity of the semi-legendary Shang dynasty of China.
Li Po Yang
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao (December 26, 1893 - September 9, 1976), was a Chinese Communist revolutionary and the founding father of the People's Republic of China, which he governed as Chairman of the Communist Party of China from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. His Marxist-Leninist theories, military strategies and political policies are collectively known as Marxism-Leninism-Maoism or Mao Zedong Thought.
Considered the second founder of Confucianism.
Mozi (Mo Tzu: ca. 490-403 BC) was China's first true philosopher. Mozi pioneered the argumentative essay style and constructed the first normative and political theories. He formulated a pragmatic theory of language that gave classical Chinese philosophy its distinctive character.
The belief in or worship of more than one god.
Means "Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire."
T'ien (Shang Ti)
The chief of the ancient Chinese gods.
A Taoist kitchen-god. Husband of Kuo Ting-hsiang and Li Hai-t'ang. Chang was a mortal who was blinded by the gods when he deserted his first wife and took his mistress, Li Hait'ang, as his second wife. Begging for his living, he was handsomely entertained by his former wife and, in shame at his treatment of her, he killed himself by jumping into the fire. Taken up to heaven, he was made a kitchen-god.
King Wen of Zhou, 1152 - 1056 BC, was king of Zhou during the late Shang dynasty in ancient China. Although it was his son Wu who conquered the Shang following the Battle of Muye, King Wen was honored as the founder of the Zhou dynasty. A large number of the hymns of the Classic of Poetry are praises to the legacy of King Wen. Some consider him the first epic hero of Chinese history.
What are the reasons for the difficulty in studying Chinese religions?
Western students often find the syncretic nature of Chinese religion puzzling. The average European or American finds it difficult to advocate more than one
religion at a time. The Christian may be tolerant of the views of a Jewish or Muslim neighbor but could never say, "I am a Christian, and I am a Jew," or "I am a Christian,
and I am a Muslim." The very nature of these religions makes it almost impossible to adhere to more than one at a time. This is not the case with Chinese religions. It is
perfectly acceptable for the traditional Chinese to be a Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian.
Four categories (periods) of the history of religion in China.
1. Shang dynasty: Earliest recorded history - 11th century BCE. , The Chinese people apparently followed a basically polytheistic religion intermingled with ancestor worship.
2. Chou Dynasty: 11th century BCE - Common Era
A portion of the Chinese literati concluded that there was one Supreme God above all other gods and spirits. The second period also was characterized by an emphasis on morality, particularly the morality of the rulers. This was the era that produced Lao-tzu (the legendary founder of Taoism) and Confucius.
3. Common Era: - 11th century CE. Buddhism and religious Taoism developed in China; for the first time, fully developed religious cults were found.
4. Eclectic movement: bringing about a synthesis
among Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism for most of the Chinese people.
Describe the ancient Chinese view of gods and spirits (both cosmic and local).
The earliest religion of the Chinese people seems to have been based on the recognition of many gods and spirits that controlled the universe. As was the case of many other basic religious groups, the ancient Chinese were apparently polytheistic and animistic in their understanding of the cosmos.
Dieties: Gods of the heavens and the Earth
The gods of the heavens and the Earth received particular attention and sacrifice. In the spring and fall, the emperors of ancient China performed elaborate and expensive sacrifices to the gods of the heavens and the Earth. Many of these rituals were intended to ensure the fertility of the soil and bountiful harvests. Lesser rulers and the common people also performed sacrifices to these spirits.
Chinese also recognized several kinds of local deities and spirits. In general, the beneficial spirits were known as Shen. They were to be found in the bright and lighted places of the Earth and were associated with the sun and the spring.
The evil spirits were known as Kuei and were associated with dark and gloomy places. Generally, the common people performed sacrifices and rituals to put themselves on good terms with the Shen and protect themselves from the Kuei. Usually, animals or grain were sacrificed, but occasional records exist of human sacrifice being the supreme offering to the deities.
Dieties: Wealthy People
Archaeological investigations have revealed wealthy men's tombs that contained the bodies of hundreds of servants and wives who were presumably buried alive with their masters. One record speaks of an emperor who was buried along with all of his wives who had failed to bear him children. One wonders if this was a matter of religious sacrifice or simple revenge. By the end of the Chou dynasty, before the Common Era, this practice had ceased. Apparently, the practice of burying straw
figures or paper likenesses of the wives was instituted as a substitute.
Yin and Yang - Explain the Chinese concept of yin and yang as a unifying explanation of the universe.
In searching for a principle to explain the true nature of the universe, the ancient Chinese philosophers developed the concept of the yin and the yang. What made the
universe operate the way it did was understood to be a balance between these two forces. The yin was the negative force in nature. It was seen in darkness, coolness,
femaleness, dampness, the Earth itself, the moon, and the shadows. The yang was the positive force in nature. It was seen in lightness, brightness, warmth, maleness,
dryness, and the sun. The interaction between yin and yang was understood as one of the factors in the operation of the universe. Except for a few objects, such as the sun or the Earth, which were clearly yin or yang, all the rest of nature, humankind, and even events were a combination of both forces. When these two forces were at work in harmony, life was what it should be.
Filial Piety - What do the terms "old" or "aged" mean to the Chinese?
To the Chinese, the term old or aged is not the sign of disrespect that it often is in many Western countries; rather, it is the ultimate term of respect. To the Chinese,
life may truly be said to begin at sixty, when a person reaches the age when he or she is respected. Historically, it is the aged father, mother, grandfather, or grandmother
who dominates the Chinese home. It is the obligation of the children to support the elderly, to obey them, and to give them proper burial after death. Even after the parents' death, the child is obligated to maintain their grave site, to remember them and their deeds, and to offer sacrifices to them.
Filial Piety - Explain "ancestor worship".
A characteristic of the Chinese people throughout history has been their respect for and even veneration of aged members of the family, known as ancestor veneration.
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of Chinese life for modern Western students to understand is this veneration of old age. The legendary founder of Taoism was Li-pohyang, but his disciples called him Lao-tzu, which means "Old Master" or "Old Boy." The Chinese who forget their ancestors are disgraced and will one day become
homeless ghosts. It is also commonly believed that those lacking filial piety will be afflicted by dangerous spirits.
Western students of Chinese life have often referred to this attitude as "ancestor worship." Indeed, there is a religious aspect to these practices: Individuals revere their
parents while they are alive and after they are dead. While they are alive, the aged represent the wisdom of the family; after their deaths, they may be in a position to help
the family further because of their contact with the spirit world. Therefore, support of the dead ancestors with remembrance and sacrifices is essential. The Chinese who forget their ancestors are disgraced and will one day become homeless ghosts. It is also commonly believed that those lacking filial piety will be afflicted by dangerous spirits. Historically, the Chinese home has tended to have a small shrine or altar at which the names and deeds of many previous generations of the family are remembered
and where small sacrifices of rice and wine may be offered. Imitation paper money, often inscribed as being issued by the "Bank of Hell," is another common offering.
Ancestral tablets are also often placed in Chinese temples and lineage meeting centers.
Divination- By what means did the ancient Chinese seek answers to the future?
Like many other basic religious groups, the early Chinese believed that the unity of the universe allowed future events to be predicted by some means. Whereas certain
ancient religions sought out the future in the patterns of the flight of birds, in the entrails of sacrificed animals, or in the sayings of various oracles, the ancient Chinese
sought the future in the patterns of the shell of the tortoise or in stalks of grain. The shell of the tortoise was thought to be especially in tune with the rhythms of the
universe because of the long life of its inhabitant. Frequently, the shell was heated and the future was divined by the cracks that appeared in it.
Divination- I Ching
Divination among the ancient Chinese probably reached its peak in the development of a book called the I Ching (The Book of Changes), which was edited by Confucius and is still used today.
Divination- How could the hexagrams of the I Ching be viewed as a means of divination?
With the casting of coins or stalks of a plant, certain patterns emerge. By identifying these patterns among some sixty-four hexagrams presented in the I Ching, a statement or prediction is evoked.
Development of Belief in the Shang Ti- What is Shang Ti?
In the eleventh century b.c.e. , the Chou clans rebelled against the ruling Shang dynasty. By the end of the century, the Chou warriors had effectively completed the rebellion and had begun a new dynasty that was to rule China for several centuries. The Chou rulers asserted that one Supreme God controlled the destinies of all humankind. This God was Shang Ti, who had previously been regarded as the patron ancestor of the Shang dynasty.
Development of Belief in the Shang Ti- What religious beliefs were proposed by the Chou dynasty at the end of the eleventh century BCE?
Chinese religion is basically polytheistic, as previously described. However, in the eleventh century b.c.e. the Chou rulers began to assert that the right to rule had to be based on morality and religion. They further asserted that one Supreme God(Shang-Ti) controlled the destinies of all humankind.The Chou rulers asserted that Shang Ti was more than an ancestor; he was the Supreme God, and he had been responsible for the fall of the Shang dynasty because of their immorality. Shang Ti was seen as the rewarder of good morality and the punisher of immorality, particularly among rulers. Therefore, government had to be founded upon virtue. Although Shang Ti might delight in elaborate sacrifice and ritual, he still loved morality more; all the sacrifices in the world could not cover up evil.
Development of Belief in the Shang Ti- What were the political consequences of these religious beliefs?
Some scholars have suggested that the Chinese during this period were very close to developing an ethical monotheism similar to that enunciated by the Hebrew
prophets in the eighth century b.c.e. However, the emphasis on morality as a means of satisfying the High God remained in the hands of the rulers, and prophets never arose in this period of Chinese history. Nevertheless, the emperors of China held their thrones with one eye on the heavens and a concern for personal morality and
Development of Belief in the Shang Ti- Describe the worship and belief in Shang Ti.
Shang Ti was seen as the rewarder of good morality and the punisher of immorality, particularly among rulers. Therefore, government had to be founded upon virtue. Although Shang Ti might delight in elaborate sacrifice and ritual, he still loved morality more; all the sacrifices in the world could not cover up evil. We read of his concern for morality in the ancient Shu Ching (Book of Documents).
Decline of the Feudal System- Describe the feudal system in ancient China.
During the Chou dynasty, China had been organized and governed by a feudal system similar to that of medieval Europe. The empire was divided into vassal states
whose princes were subject to the emperor. The states in turn were subdivided into districts ruled by governors who were vassals to the princes. Each substate supported
its lord financially, while the lord in turn provided protection for the state. Society was then stratified into ranks. Members of the society knew their ranks and duties.
They also knew who was above and below them.
Decline of the Feudal System- Why did the feudal system breakdown between the eighth and third centuries BCE?
In the five centuries between the eighth and third centuries b.c.e. , the feudal system in China began to break down. Lords were no longer able to protect their vassals from invading armies. This led to the development of warlords who could provide protection and command respect. Serfs sometimes became landowners in these upsetting times. Merchant classes began to appear in the cities, and their economic power began to be felt. Old aristocratic families began to find themselves without either wealth or power. In general, the feudal world turned upside down.
Decline of the Feudal System- How did this decline set the stage for Taoism, Legalism, and Confucianism?
In general, the feudal world turned upside down.
Into this era came the great Chinese schools, each with its own distinctive answer to the problems facing the nation. The Confucians dreamed of a restored idealized
form of feudalism as the best government; the Legalists wanted nothing to do with feudalism but wished for a strong centralized government; the Taoists wanted no
government at all, or at least as little government as possible. It was out of this confused milieu that the great Chinese philosophy-religions were born.
Taoism- Origins of Taoism
Taoism is extremely difficult to define. It can be described in terms of its history and its effects on the Chinese people, but it cannot be clearly delineated as a religion with a certain body of doctrines and rituals as can Islam or
Christianity. Its origins are lost in the mists of Chinese antiquity. Little is known of its founder; indeed, there are those who even deny his existence. Its sacred book is more a brief poetical statement of philosophy than a scripture. The name Taoism is taken from the title of this book, Tao Tê Ching, and it is probably best translated as "the way" or "the way of nature." In spite of this seemingly religious title, the earliest teachers of Taoism were only vaguely theistic in their beliefs. By the early centuries of the Common Era, however, Taoism had been converted into a religion complete with gods, priests, temples, and sacrifices. In modern China, Taoism is mainly associated with charms, exorcisms, and magical attempts to
prolong life. A philosophy of nature, a religion,
Taoism- Briefly trace the events of Lao-Tzu's life.
Traditionally, the founder of Taoism is thought to be
Lao-tzu, who lived in the sixth century b.c.e. , although the
basic philosophy of Taoism is probably much older. Little
is known about Lao-tzu, and some scholars doubt that he
was a historical figure. Legends about him state that he was born approximately fifty years before Confucius; according to Confucian sources, there was a meeting between the two. His original name was Li-poh-yang, but he was given the title Lao-tzu (Old Master or Old Boy) by his disciples as a title of respect. It is said that he was the keeper of royal archives in the court of the Chou dynasty during the tumultuous period when order was breaking down. He tired of the artificial life in court and retired from his post. Journeying westward, he reached a pass in the mountains at the northwest boundaries of China,
where he sought to leave the country. The guard of the pass recognized the wise man and refused to allow him to leave until he had committed to writing the sum of his
wisdom. Thereupon, Lao-tzu sat down and wrote the Tao Tê Ching. When this was completed, he was allowed to leave the country and was never seen again. The truth
of this story has never been verified. Certainly, we know less about the founder of Taoism than we know about any of the other founders of world religions.
Tao Tê Ching- Overview of Tao Tê Ching?
The book that Lao-tzu was supposed to have written in the sixth century b.c.e. , the Tao Tê Ching, has become the most influential book in Chinese literature, except for
the Analects of Confucius. The title literally means "The Classic of the Way and Its Power or Virtue." It is a small book, made up of slightly more than 5,000 words contained in eighty-one chapters, and it is usually translated in poetical form. It has been the object of at least a thousand commentaries and has been translated into English more than forty times.
Tao Tê Ching- What is the literal translation of Tao Tê Ching?
"The Classic of the Way and Its Power or Virtue."
Tao Tê Ching- Why is it the best known of all Chinese books?
Because it has been translated more times than any other book in the world except the Bible.
Tao Tê Ching- What is its theme?
The theme of the Tao Tê Ching is that all human
achievements are folly, especially elaborate government.
Taoism- What are the two main sources for Taoism before the Common Era?
The Tao Tê Ching and the work of a fourthcentury b.c.e. disciple of Lao-tzu, Chuang-tzu.
Taoism- Briefly explain the four main themes of early Taoism. (1)
1. The basic unity behind the universe is a mysterious and undefinable force called the Tao.
Usually the word Tao is defined as "the way," and it may be best understood in terms of "the way of the universe" or perhaps "nature's way." Yet the true Taois impossible to define. The Tao Tê Ching begins with the following admonition: Though the Tao is defined as "the way," it is most often compared to a stream or a moving body of water as it progresses endlessly and inexorably. As water wears away the hardest stone or metal and carries off buildings in its path, it is
useless to struggle against the Tao. Therefore, the ancient Taoist philosophers believed that all humankind's accomplishments and monuments will sooner or
later be destroyed by the Tao. The greatest buildings will fall into decay, hardwon knowledge will be superseded, wealth will fail, and even the sharpest sword will become dull. For this reason, it behooved people not to struggle against the Tao but to seek to blend with it and be guided by it. True Taoists live quiet and simple lives. They avoid any achievement except that of seeking to understand
Taoism- Briefly explain the four main themes of early Taoism. (2)
2. Life is the greatest of all possessions.
Because of their belief in the Tao as the source of all life and their belief in the folly of achievement, the early Taoist philosophers taught that life itself was the greatest of possessions; all others were doomed to decay. Fame, wealth, power, and education were mere flitting, transient illusions. If people were not interested in the acquisition of goods, power, or education, then they could give their full attention to the enrichment of their own lives. This led the Taoists to search for a way to lengthen life; eventually,
they employed various magical practices in an attempt to prolong and enrich life.
Taoism- Briefly explain the four main themes of early Taoism. (3)
3. Life is to be lived simply.
Believing that all life originated from the Tao, which would ultimately destroy people's achievements, the early Taoists turned their backs on civilization with all of its ills and benefits and sought to live life as simply as possible. The Taoist philosophers may have carried this dream to its greatest extreme. They considered education, wealth, power, and family ties worthless, in fact, impediments to living. Ideally, individuals should turn their backs on the advancements of civilization and live as simply and as quietly as possible. The word innocence characterizes
the ideal state. Like the plants and creatures of the Earth, innocent human beings are content with what the Tao has ordained for them. According to early Taoist philosophers, there should be little government in the ideal state. In fact, it was an axiom of Taoists that the least government is the best government. Lao-tzu is remembered for saying, "Govern a great nation as you would cook a small
fish"—do not overdo it. The small village is the ideal unit of society. The bestruler is the one who rules least and is virtually anonymous. If all this were realized, all striving, quarrels, and wars would cease. Taoism is pacific, not out of any moral commitment to pacifism but because warring is useless and wasteful. If a larger, stronger state wished the territory of the quiet Taoist village, the village should simply submit to the larger state. In the long run, there would be no grief due to this decision and the village ultimately would conquer the large state with its humility.
The early Taoists looked upon the innocence of the child as an ideal toward which all human beings should strive. The infant knows no craft and has no ambitions but to live; yet the child is cared for, fed, and clothed. The weakness
and softness of the infant are the ideals of Taoism.
Taoism- Briefly explain the four main themes of early Taoism. (4)
4. Pomp and glory are to be despised.
Because the Taoists were concerned with living according to the path of nature (i.e., as simply as possible), they despised the fame, pomp, and glory that most people seek. They saw such things as the cause of strife and discord in society. If each person were only content to live as the Tao
intended, without seeking to rise above other people, then life would be as it was intended. This attitude also contained a condemnation of pride. It was a Chinese
belief, perhaps older than Taoism, that pride invited destruction, that the tree that stood taller than its neighbors would be the first felled by the woodsman. Therefore, better to be humble, small, or imperfect than to stand out from all the rest. Perhaps the best example of the Taoists' contempt for pomp, glory, rank, and wealth is the story of Chuang-tzu, in the fourth-century b.c.e. Taoist philosopher. Chuang-tzu was widely regarded for his wisdom and was offered the position of prime minister by Prince Wei of Ch'u. When the messengers of the prince brought this offer, Chuang is said to have replied in the following manner: You offer me great wealth and a proud position indeed; but have you never seen the
sacrificial ox? When after being fattened up for several years, it is decked with embroidered trappings and led to the altar, would it not willingly then change places with
some uncaring pigling? . . . Begone! defile me not! I would rather disport myself to my own enjoyment in the mire than be a slave to a mire of a state. I will never take office.
Thus I shall remain free to follow my own inclinations.
Taoism- Theism in Taoism
There is little theism in early Taoism. The Tao itself is an impersonal, vague force behind the universe and is more of a First Cause than a god in any traditional sense of the word. In one translation of the Tao Tê Ching, the word god is used only once; in many translations, it does not appear at all. Only rarely does the term heaven appear. The Tao is not conceived of as a force to whom one can pray or sacrifice, and the early Taoists seem to have had no rituals for worship. In fact, they may have been rejecting religion and all of its accouterments as part of their rejection of the
Confucians, who placed a very high value on rituals.
Taoism- What was the concern of the early Taoists?
In general, the early Taoists were concerned about the quality of life as it is lived on a day-to-day basis, without much interest in the heavens, the gods, rituals, or life
Describe China during the fourth and third centuries BCE.
The fourth and third centuries b.c.e. were eras of chaos in China. The old governmental structure of feudalism was breaking down, invaders regularly made inroads into the country, the social order was in a state of flux, and the ancient systems of values were seriously being questioned. The Taoist philosophers and their challenge to existing values and structures were, of course, a part of that era. Other philosophers, politicians, and teachers held other views of life and government and toured the nation. According to Arthur Waley, "Every court in China was infested by 'journeying philosophers' each in turn
pressing upon a bewildered ruler the claims of Activism, of Quietism, of morality, of non-morality, of force, of non-resistance, of individualism, of State supremacy. In one thing only were they united; each claimed to possess the
secret "art of ruling" whereby the Ancestors had grown mighty in the past. "
Discuss the similarities and differences between the following schools: the Confucians, the Legalists, and the Mohists.
Confucians and Taoists-
Whereas the Taoists believed that the least government was the best government, the disciples of Confucius believed that an idealized feudal system was the best form of government. Whereas the Taoists had little use for formal religion, the Confucians at least believed that the rites and rituals of religion served the function of uniting the people. Whereas the Taoists believed that the best society was one with little structure, the Confucians taught that society needed an elaborate structure, reinforced by etiquette, to be effective.
Legalists and Taoists-
A second group that vied for the attention of the rulers of China during this period was a large one that followed no specific teacher; its members were known as Legalists or Realists. They believed that human nature and the condition of China at the time demanded strong leadership. To them, human nature tended to be wicked and lazy. People followed the path of least resistance. Left to their own devices, people made decisions that were bad for society as a whole. Therefore, government should be run under what Westerners might call Machiavellian principles. Government should not be affected by morality or pity. People did not need love or pity, they needed food and houses. Thus, leaders of government should determine
what would be best for the majority of society and take the difficult steps necessary to achieve these ends. Any resulting hardship for the minority should not affect decisions. Legalists had no room for religion. Money and time spent on sacrifices to the gods were better spent on good government. Naturally, these teachers had little in
common with the passive Taoist sages.
Mohists and Taoists-
The third group that sought to influence government during the fourth and third centuries b.c.e. was the Mohists. These teachers were disciples of
Mo-tzu, who lived in the fifth century b.c.e. (ca. 468-390 b.c.e. ). Mo-tzu began his career as a Confucian but later broke away to form his own distinctive philosophy.
He and his disciples believed that the best government operated under the direction of the traditional Chinese religions. Under these religions, people were taught to
love one another; thus, the government would operate from a position of love. The Mohists were pacifists, yet they recognized the necessity of self-defense and allowed
the building of fortifications.
How did Taoism develop from a philosophy of the few to a religion for the many?
Following the period of the early Taoist philosophers, two kinds of Taoists developed. One group followed the philosophical writings of Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu.
The second group was searching for immortality, not in the sense of life after death, as taught by many other religions, but in an endless extension of the present life through various devices.
Differentiate between the two kinds of Taoists that followed the period of the early Taoist philosophers?
One group followed the philosophical writings of Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu. The second group was searching for immortality, not in the sense of life after death, as taught by many other religions, but in an endless extension of the present life through various devices.
Briefly analyze and explain the concept of alchemy and its impact on Taoism.
Some believed that because dead meat could be preserved from decay by salt, living flesh might be preserved by some other mineral, such as gold. The Taoist alchemist seeking to work his magic soon became concerned with
gods that might be involved in the process. Because the alchemists worked at the stove, they began to offer sacrifices to the god of the stove, Tsao Chün. Thus it is said
that Tsao Chün, by the third century c.e. , became the first god of Taoism. The process of apotheosis continued until there were many Taoist gods. And so a philosophy that began by essentially denying personal gods developed its own gods.
What changes in Taoism occurred in the second century BCE?
By the second century c.e. , the Tao Tê Ching had been officially recognized as a Chinese classic and was soon on its way to becoming the Taoist scripture. Those seeking immortality came to believe that the only way they could achieve it was through the practice of morality and virtuous deeds toward their fellow human beings. Also in the second century c.e. , the Han dynasty, which had ruled China for several centuries, began to break down. During this time of chaos, certain charismatic Taoist leaders appeared. Several of them not only led the search for immortality but also gathered great armies of followers and participated in wars in a most un-Taoist fashion. With the organization that these people brought, the concern for faith healing, the search for immortality, and the other accoutrements of gods, morality, temples, priests, rituals, and so on, Taoism became one of the religions, if not the religion, of the masses of the Chinese people by the beginning of the third century c.e.
How did Mahayana Buddhism impact and influence the development of Taoism?
In later years came the development of Mahayana Buddhism, with its elaborate rituals and many gods. Extraordinary missionaries also came, such as the
legendary Bodhidharma, who brought the dhyana version of Mahayana Buddhism from India to China in the fifth century c.e. In China, as in most other Asian nations,
this version of the teachings of the Buddha appealed tremendously to the masses. By the fourth century c.e. , Mahayana Buddhism was a force to be reckoned
with by the Taoists.
Conflict between Buddhists and Taoists-
At first, there seems to have been no rivalry between the two religions. The Taoists helped the Buddhists translate their texts into Chinese, and the Buddhists used Taoist terms to explain Buddhist concepts. As Buddhism became
more popular among the Chinese, however, the Taoists began to recognize it as a threat. Fierce struggles arose between the two groups to determine who would have
influence with the various rulers and thus control the provinces. In a most uncharacteristic fashion, each religion became hostile to the other and persecution developed.
In the ninth century c.e. , Emperor Wu Tsung, who was greatly influenced by Taoist priests, persecuted the Buddhists on a vast scale, destroying numerous temples. At other times, Buddhists influenced the rulers to discriminate against the Taoists.
How was the struggle between Buddhists and Taoists finally settled?
The struggle between the Buddhists and Taoists was settled more by syncretism than by persecution. Each religion borrowed from the other until both became associated, along with the teachings of Confucius, as the common religion of the people.
Confucianism- What reasons are given for not classifying Confucianism as a different kind of religion?
Some contend that the teachings of Confucius and his disciples were never intended to be a religion, that Confucius was probably an atheist who discouraged
prayer to the gods as worthless and that his main concern was the nature of human society. If Confucianism is a religion, it is a very different kind of religion. It has no priesthood; its sacred writings, although important, have never been considered a divine revelation like the Vedas or the Qur'an; it has frowned upon asceticism and monasticism; and it has no doctrine of an afterlife.
The Life of Confucius- Why is the historicity of Confucius not in doubt? Briefly trace the life events of Confucius.
Because the biographical material about him is extensive and fairly reliable because of the influence that he and
his disciples had on the Chinese people. The earliest and most authentic material about Confucius is contained in
the Analects of Confucius, a collection of his teachings compiled about seventy years after his death. In addition to the biographical material in Confucian literature,
Confucius is mentioned in the writings of contemporary Taoists and Mohists. No one seriously doubts the historicity of Confucius.
The Life of Confucius- Briefly trace the life events of Confucius.
Confucius was born in 551 b.c.e. in the state of Lu (now in modern Shantung). He was the child of an aristocratic family that had lost its wealth and position in the decline of the feudal states of China during that chaotic period. His father was said to have been a famous warrior of gigantic size and strength who was seventy years old when Confucius was conceived. The father died shortly before the birth of the child, and Confucius was reared in poverty by his widowed mother. Although his mother had to struggle for survival, she was determined to provide her son with an education. Therefore, Confucius was allowed to study with the village tutor. The biographies say he studied subjects that were the traditional fare of Chinese students of his time: poetry, Chinese history, music, hunting, fishing, and archery. Even as a youth, he seems to have been extremely interested in the interworkings of society, particularly in what constituted good government. This was to be his main theme for the rest of his life.
In his late teens, he accepted a minor position in government, where he closely observed the ruling process. He married and fathered one son, but the marriage
ended in divorce. We know little about the wife or family of Confucius beyond thesescanty facts. However, there are still Chinese today who claim to be the physical
descendants of Confucius. While Confucius was in his mid-twenties, his mother died; being a devoted son, Confucius mourned her for three years.
During his twenties, Confucius began his true career, that of teacher. His reputation as a man of learning allowed him to establish himself as a teacher of young people. In the following years, his reputation spread widely, and he attracted many
students. They lived in his home and followed him on his journeys. He taught them history, the principles of good government, and divination. Legend has it that at the age of fifty, Confucius was finally able to put into practice some of his principles of good government when he was asked to join the government of the Duke of Lu as its prime minister. According to these Confucian legends, Confucius's government was ideal. During his leadership, the state was so well governed that the crime rate dropped to almost nothing. People stopped locking their doors, and a wallet that was dropped on the street was left untouched for days. However, the enemies of Confucius became jealous of his success and conspired against him. Consequently, he was forced to retire from government at the age of fifty-five.
During the next twelve years of his life, Confucius held no position. He wandered from place to place with a few of his faithful disciples. Sometimes he was accepted by the populace and treated hospitably. At other times he and his friends were jeered and even jailed. Finally, when he was sixty-seven years of age, a position was found for him as an adviser to the Duke of Ai. Although this was not as important as the position he had formerly held, it at least gave Confucius a home for himself and his disciples. During the next years, he taught and compiled some of the classical Chinese texts. The master died in the year 479 b.c.e. and was widely mourned by his disciples. According
to one tradition, his most faithful disciple built a hut
beside the grave and stayed to mourn Confucius for
The Teachings of Confucius- What were Confucius' attitudes toward religion?
Confucius's attitude toward religion has been a
point of great debate; on the one hand, some regard
him as the founder of one of the world's great religions; on the other hand, some believe he was an agnostic, if not an atheist. The truth about Confucius's teachings on religion probably lies somewhere between the two extremes. Relative to his contemporaries, he was somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, with Lao-tzu on the left, denying the validity of religions, and Mo-tzu on the right, advocating a return to the ancient religions of China.
The Teachings of Confucius- How did he view gods and spirits?
Confucius seems to have believed that, although
the gods existed and worship and rituals were of
value in bringing people together, these things were
of secondary importance to an equitable social order. Praying to the spirits should not interfere with one's proper social duties. His attitude seems to have been that, ideally, one should respect the spirits but keep them at a distance. Even though Confucius was not an atheist or antireligious, no evidence suggests that he was interested in starting a religion. Rather, he developed a system of ethics, a theory of government, and a set of personal and
social goals that deeply influenced the Chinese for almost twenty-five centuries.
The Teachings of Confucius- Briefly explain the theme of li.
One of these themes is represented by the word li, variously translated as "propriety," "rites," "ceremonies," or "courtesy." Originally, it may have meant the grain found in wood or the pattern in jade. Basically, li seems to mean "the course of life as it is intended to go"; of course, it has religious and social connotations. When society lives by li, it moves smoothly: men and women respect their elders and superiors; the proper rituals and ceremonies are performed; everything and everyone is in its proper place. Naturally, the principle of li was most closely followed when an idealized form of feudalistic government existed. In such a state, all people know their superiors
and inferiors and are able to act in the genteel manner that Confucius believed was necessary for a smoothly functioning society. Furthermore, Confucius believed that
China in his day was in a state of chaos because the people were no longer living according to the principles of li.
*In Confucian ideals, the principle of li is the outward expression of the superior individual toward others in his society.
The Teachings of Confucius- What are the five basic relationships in life and how do they relate to li.
1. Father to son.
There should be kindness in the father and filial piety in
2. Elder brother to younger brother.
There should be gentility in the elder brother and
humility in the younger.
3. Husband to wife.
There should be righteous behavior in the husband and
obedience in the wife.
4. Elder to junior.
There should be consideration among the elders and
deference among the juniors.
5. Ruler to subject.
There should be benevolence among the rulers and
loyalty among the subjects..
The Teachings of Confucius- Briefly explain the theme of jen.
The inward expression of Confucian ideals is
called jen. Jen is frequently translated as "love," "goodness," or "human-heartedness." According to Confucius, only the great sages of antiquity truly possessed Jen but it is a quality that all should seek to develop. The pursuit of this quality is mentioned many times in the Analects of Confucius.
The Teachings of Confucius- What is the Confucian goal?
The superior human being.
The Teachings of Confucius- Why is good government emphasized by Confucianism?
One requirement for people to achieve goodness is good government. Confucius believed that poor government with bad laws caused people to do evil, and that
a generation of good rulership could cure most of the moral ills of people. A good example set by the ruling classes will bring out the true morality of people. Because
of the natural morality of humanity, Confucius believed that it was unnecessary to offer people rewards or punishments to induce them to good conduct. Good conduct is its own reward. Therefore, whatever Confucius might have believed about the gods, he never spoke of an afterlife in heaven or hell to reward good deeds or
punish evil. Under the proper conditions, people simply grow and develop into what Confucius called the "Superior Man."
The Development of Confucianism- After the death of Confucius, why were the followers of Confucius not successful in seeking positions of advisers or establishing their own schools?
First, they faced the opposition of rival schools—
Taoists, Legalists, and later Mohists—who all claimed to have the key to good government for the official who would listen. Second, the disciples of Confucius taught that the best form of government was an idealized feudalism—and they were teaching this in a time when the feudal society was breaking down all over China; they were out of step with their time.
The Development of Confucianism- Who was Mencius and what impact did he have on this religion?
The Chinese sage second only to Confucius. Mencius was born approximately 100 years after the death of Confucius and lived from 372 to 289 b.c.e. We are not certain about
a great many details in his life; but as is true of many of the ancients, there is an abundance of legend about him. Much of this legendary material apparently is intended to draw parallels between him and Confucius. We are told that, like
Confucius, Mencius was the only child of a poor widow who struggled to support her son and provide him with an education. As did Confucius, Mencius became a teacher and sought a position as a political adviser. Also as was true for his master, his advice was not wanted; he too wandered about teaching his disciples. More substantial tradition says that Mencius studied under the disciples
of Tzu-ssu, the grandson of Confucius, and was in fact an ineffective adviser to some of the Chinese rulers of his day. Like Confucius, Mencius was not terribly interested in religion. Little is said about the gods in his writings, and no attempt is made to influence people to return to the
worship of the traditional Chinese gods. Mencius's major ethical position was a reinforcement of Confucius's teaching of the natural goodness of human beings.
Whereas this teaching had not been terribly clear in the writings of Confucius, it became crystal clear in those of Mencius. The latter strongly asserted that human
nature was basically good. He observed that not all people act virtuously, but that this is because of their environment. Given the proper environment, he taught,
it is possible for all people to be virtuous. Naturally, the best environment for a Confucian scholar features a government based on paternalistic feudalism operated for the benefit of the people. Thus, Mencius distinguished between the feudal tyrant and the sage-king.
The Development of Confucianism- Hsün tzŭ
The second most famous Confucian interpreter was Hsün Tzuˇ , who lived in the generation after Mencius (298-238 b.c.e. ). Whereas Mencius has come to be regarded as the orthodox interpreter of Confucius, Hsün-tzuˇ is regarded as the heterodox interpreter; however, Hsün-tzuˇ had a greater impact in his time. Some authorities even give him credit for the development of Confucianism during the
Han dynasty (206 b.c.e. to 220 c.e. ). He was a native of Chao and a widely respected and revered scholar. In his later years, he served as a magistrate of the city of Lan-Ling. Beyond these bare facts, we know little about him.
The Development of Confucianism- What were his two major contributions?
He believed in the worth of rites (li) as
devices to bring people together and educate them and he denied of the basic goodness of humankind. In direct contradiction of the teachings of Mencius, Hsün-tzuˇ contended that people were basically evil in nature.
The Development of Confucianism- How did Hsün tzŭ differ from Mencius?
Hsün-tzuˇ contended that people were basically evil in nature.
The Development of Confucianism- Why did the rise of the Han dynasty mark a new era in Chinese history and how did Confucianism thrive in this dynasty?
When the Han rulers came to power, they needed great numbers of new administrators and advisers. This new market for political theorists attracted many scholars who had been trained by the disciples of Confucius. The Confucians' position was further strengthened when in 136 b.c.e. they were placed in charge of the education of Chinese youth, particularly those youths who would eventually govern. The civil service examinations were based on the teachings of Confucius. From that date until 1905 c.e. , Chinese education included a study of the teachings of Confucius. Master Kung himself could not have devised a system in which his philosophy would have had more influence over the future of China.
Traditional Chinese Holidays- Chinese New Year
The New Year is celebrated at the end of January or the beginning of February. Each year is associated with a particular animal. The New Year celebrations' emphasis
is on cleansing and renewal to prepare for the new year and the coming planting in the spring. Often, businesses are closed for several days. Houses are cleansed in
preparation for feasts and guests. On the eve of the New Year, families gather to worship various gods and to venerate ancestors. The acts of worship are followed by
a feast of many courses. This is also a time of new clothes and presents for children. Firecrackers and parades are a part of this holiday. Chinese New Year celebrations
continue until the full moon of the first month.
Traditional Chinese Holidays- Pure and Bright Festival
In early April, Chinese people celebrate another festival that involves the ancestors. This celebration includes ritual baths and the building of new fires that symbolize
the newness of the spring season and the renewal of the yang forces in nature. Families also use this season as an occasion to clean and redecorate the graves of ancestors. Food is offered to the departed family members at the graves, and the living family enjoys a picnic.
Traditional Chinese Holidays- The Dragon Boat Festival
In June, the Chinese people celebrate the beginning of summer with the Dragon Boat Festival. This season is celebrated with dragon boat races and the eating of rice
cakes. The beginning of summer is believed to be the high point of yang power in the Earth (the longest day of the year) and the beginning of yin power. Taoist rituals
exorcise pestilent spirits during this season.
Traditional Chinese Holidays- All Souls' Day
The festival of All Souls' Day occurs in late August. It is the Chinese version of the Buddhist Ullambana. The Buddhist idea of purgatory is combined with traditional
Chinese concern for the welfare of the ancestors. It is believed that souls are released from purgatory in a kind of amnesty. Money and other offerings are made to the
spirits of the ancestors. Food and flower offerings are left outside for wandering spirits. Some people light fires in the streets to drive spirits and ghosts away. On this
day, families join together for another feast.
Traditional Chinese Holidays- Autumn Harvest Festival
The Chinese celebrate the autumn harvest during the full moon of the eighth lunar month (September). This holiday includes the enjoyment of the full moon and the eating of fresh fruits and sweet pastries, called moon cakes. The festival also features the reading of poetry and a general spirit of thanksgiving for the autumn harvest.
Traditional Chinese Holidays- Winter Holidays
The winter season includes the Taoist holiday of the renewal of the universe ( Chiao) at the time of the winter solstice. During the late autumn and early winter days,
there are also celebrations of the birthdays of various heroes, gods and goddesses, and patron saints.
Religion in China Today- Why were the nineteenth and twentieth centuries difficult times for religion in China?
During the mid-nineteenth century, natural disasters and
political and military intervention by European powers yielded social and economic chaos in much of the country.
Religion in China Today- Describe what happened in 1949 and its impact on Taoism and Confucianism, as well as on Christianity and Islam.
In 1949, China underwent a revolution and became the People's Republic of China, under the direction of a Marxist government. The official attitude of this government toward religion was that it was a vestige of the feudal past and would gradually fade away from a modern society. Theoretically, at least, the government allowed freedom of religious belief. However, Taoism and Confucianism were regarded with great suspicion because Confucianism seemed so clearly tied to the feudalism of the past and Taoism was seen as superstition. Buddhism was viewed as an imported religion and was therefore suspect. Large numbers of Buddhist monks fled the country, contributing to the development of more sophisticated communities in Taiwan, Hong Kong,
Singapore, and the West. Christianity was associated with the imperialistic Western nations. Therefore, Christian missionaries were expelled from China by 1952. Islam
was a more delicate matter for the new government. Most Muslims in China live in the western part of the nation and are members of various minority ethnic groups related to the Turkic peoples of central and western Asia. Even though Islam had been brought in from outside China, the government of the People's Republic did not suppress it; however, Islamic education was severely restricted. Despite the official government position, many temples, mosques, and churches closed or were converted to other uses in the years following 1949. Christians were required to join together in the so-called Three-Self Movement
to protect themselves against foreign intervention or control. Those who refused and formed independent Christian communities (often called "house churches" in English) suffered persecution. The Chinese government refused to recognize the authority of the Pope to appoint bishops. Generally, post-1949 China was not a healthy place for organized religions, although some adherents of all five faiths maintained their practices..
Religion in China Today- What is the position of religion by the Chinese government today?
In 1977, after the death of Mao and with the thawing of relationships between China and Western nations, the government became more open to religions. In 1982,
the Chinese Communist Party declared its respect for religion—and continues to hope that it will disappear. Churches and temples were allowed to reopen and hold
services. The University of Nanking established a Center for Religious Studies in 1979. Chinese students are now enrolled in religious studies departments at several
American universities. The Chinese government is paying the costs for a translation and publication of the Bible and subsidizing the studies of Chinese Muslim students in Egypt. Despite these liberalizing trends, the position of religion in Chinese society remains precarious. The government tolerates only those religious organizations
willing to accept strict regulation. Religions must be free from foreign influence. To be officially recognized, religious organizations must accept government censorship of religious writings and guidance in the selection of clergy, and limit religious activities to approved locations. Only five religions are officially recognized: Taoism, Buddhism, Roman Catholicism, Protestant Christianity, and Islam. The government
does not recognize individual Protestant denominations.
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