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Chinese Religions A Brief Look at Confucianism and Taoism.

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Presentation on theme: "Chinese Religions A Brief Look at Confucianism and Taoism."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chinese Religions A Brief Look at Confucianism and Taoism

2 A Few Points Most Chinese religions: Most Chinese religions: –Focus on the role of ancestors and the need to respect their role –Also include the idea that spirits inhabit all things and carry a cosmic energy –No strict dichotomies between good and bad, right and wrong Religion or Philosophy? Religion or Philosophy? –Combination of both –Emphasis is on social order and the place of people within it –Some would say both traditions really functioned more as civil religions

3 Age of the Hundred Philosophers or 100 Schools of Thought Zhou Dynasty Zhou Dynasty –1027 BCE last ruler of the Shang Dynasty overthrown –Zhou Dynasty established. Longest in Chinese history. –Tianming or “mandate of heaven” established –Proto-feudal society Western Zhou Period Western Zhou Period –1027-771 BCE –Peace and Prosperity –Strong Social Order Eastern Zhou Period Eastern Zhou Period –Smaller States, More Turmoil –Decline that gets worse over time –770-446 BCE Spring and Autumn Period*** –445-221 BCE Period of Warring States

4 Confucius Zhong-ni personal name; K’ung Ch’iu Zhong-ni personal name; K’ung Ch’iu –551-479 BCE K’ung Fu-Tzu or Master k’ung K’ung Fu-Tzu or Master k’ung Latinized version is Confucius Latinized version is Confucius

5 Life Details Family had been prominent in previous generations, but lost stature as political climate changed Family had been prominent in previous generations, but lost stature as political climate changed Father was a soldier. Died when Ch’iu was 3. Father was a soldier. Died when Ch’iu was 3. Ch’iu wanted to be a scholar, but had to work to support the family overseeing granaries and livestock and, in some later times, he worked as a tax collector Ch’iu wanted to be a scholar, but had to work to support the family overseeing granaries and livestock and, in some later times, he worked as a tax collector Married around 19-20; 2 children. Unhappy marriage. Married around 19-20; 2 children. Unhappy marriage. Mother dies when he is 23. Goes into mourning for 2-3 years. Lived as an ascetic during this time and studied rituals. Came back as a teacher. Mother dies when he is 23. Goes into mourning for 2-3 years. Lived as an ascetic during this time and studied rituals. Came back as a teacher. Not an innovative thinker. More back to the traditional ways or the Tao. Not an innovative thinker. More back to the traditional ways or the Tao.

6 On Himself “I am a transmitter and not a creator. I believe in and have a passion for the ancients.” “I am a transmitter and not a creator. I believe in and have a passion for the ancients.”

7 In His Life Ideas not well received Ideas not well received Wanted to be a public servant and was, at some times. Wanted to be a public servant and was, at some times. More of a teacher to elite young men. More of a teacher to elite young men. Died 479 BCE at 73 thinking he was a failure. Died 479 BCE at 73 thinking he was a failure. After China’s reunification in the 2 nd century BCE, needed bureaucrats to run the states and Confucian ideals became the basis for civil service exams After China’s reunification in the 2 nd century BCE, needed bureaucrats to run the states and Confucian ideals became the basis for civil service exams For 2,000 years all Chinese school children started their days by honoring him. For 2,000 years all Chinese school children started their days by honoring him.

8 An Illustration – In French Since the origin of humanity, no person is as big as Confucius Since the origin of humanity, no person is as big as Confucius

9 What Did He Teach? Deliberate Tradition Deliberate Tradition Five Major Emphases Five Major Emphases –Jen –Chun Tzu –Li –Te –Wen Civil Service Exam Civil Service Exam

10 Jen Pronounce “ren” or even “run” Pronounce “ren” or even “run” Combination of characters for human and for two Combination of characters for human and for two Goodness, love, humaneness, benevolence Goodness, love, humaneness, benevolence Reciprocity or shu is key; Golden and Silver Rules Reciprocity or shu is key; Golden and Silver Rules

11 Chun Tzu The Mature Person; Humanity at its best The Mature Person; Humanity at its best Distinguished by faithfulness, diligence, and modesty. He neither overpowers with knowledge nor is afraid to admit error. He looks at all sides of any issue, is cautious and not concerned for personal recognition. Carrying himself with dignity, he appears imperturbable, resolute, and simple. He is exemplary in filial piety and generous with kin. In…relation with others, he looks for good points, though he is not uncritical. As a leader, he knows how to delegate responsibility and who to pardon or promote. He is sensitive to the feelings and expressions of others. Distinguished by faithfulness, diligence, and modesty. He neither overpowers with knowledge nor is afraid to admit error. He looks at all sides of any issue, is cautious and not concerned for personal recognition. Carrying himself with dignity, he appears imperturbable, resolute, and simple. He is exemplary in filial piety and generous with kin. In…relation with others, he looks for good points, though he is not uncritical. As a leader, he knows how to delegate responsibility and who to pardon or promote. He is sensitive to the feelings and expressions of others.

12 Li Ritual Propriety Ritual Propriety Ritual Ritual –Repetition of behaviors you want to instill in a person –Building character and instilling virtue Propriety Propriety –Rectification of names –The Doctrine of the Mean –Five Constant Relationships –The Family –Age

13 Rectification of Names/Family Social roles are defined normatively Social roles are defined normatively Specific duties come with labels Specific duties come with labels Xiao or filial piety – the devotion to one’s family – is crucial Xiao or filial piety – the devotion to one’s family – is crucial

14 Five Constant Relationships Parent/Child Parent/Child Spouses Spouses Older Sibling/Younger Sibling Older Sibling/Younger Sibling Friendship Friendship Ruler/Subject Ruler/Subject

15 Yi Kindness in the father, filial piety in the son; Gentility in the eldest brother, humility and respect in the younger; Righteous behavior in the husband; obedience in the wife; Humane consideration in elders, deference in juniors; Benevolence in rulers, loyalty in ministers and subjects.

16 Te Not physical power Not physical power –Te means strength or force Moral example Moral example Earn admiration Earn admiration Moral authority Moral authority

17 Wen Cultural or aesthetic Cultural or aesthetic How we create a culture How we create a culture Prod us to virtue Prod us to virtue What others know about us What others know about us

18 Scripture Five Classics Five Classics –The Book of History or Shu Ching –The Book of Poetry or Shi Ching –The Book of Changes or I Ching –The Book of Rite or Li Chi –The Spring and Autumn Annals or Ch’un Ch’iu Four Books Four Books –The Analects or Lun Yu –The Great Learning or Ta Hseuh –The Doctrine of the Mean or Chung Yong –The Mencius  372-289 BCE  Mencius

19 Confucians Develops as a religion in response to the rise of Buddhism Develops as a religion in response to the rise of Buddhism Sacrifices to Confucius at tomb a first stage Sacrifices to Confucius at tomb a first stage By 7 th century required sacrifice at temples By 7 th century required sacrifice at temples.1% of the world’s religious population.1% of the world’s religious population

20 Taoism Lao-tze Lao-tze “Old Man” or “Old Boy” “Old Man” or “Old Boy” 604 BCE (or around then) 604 BCE (or around then) Tao Te Ching or The Way and Its Power Tao Te Ching or The Way and Its Power –81 chapters –Bamboo strips or slats

21 The Tao Return is the movement of the Tao. Yielding is the way of the Tao. All things are born of being. Being is born of non- being. Chapter 40

22 Chapter 1 The tao that can be told is not the eternal tao. The name that can be named is not the Eternal Name. The unnamable is the eternally real. Naming is the origin of all particular things. Free from desire, you realize the mystery. Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations. Yet mystery and manifestations arise from the same source. The source is called darkness. Darkness within darkness. The gateway to all understanding.

23 The Nature of The Tao The Tao doesn’t take sides; it gives birth to both good and evil. The Master doesn’t take sides, she welcomes both saints and sinners. The Tao is empty like a bellows: it is empty and yet infinitely capable. The more you use it, the more it produces; the more you talk of it, the less you understand. Hold on to the center. Chapter 5

24 Wu Wei Men are born soft and supple; dead, they are stiff and hard. Plants are born tender and pliant; dead, they are brittle and dry. Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death. Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life. The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail. Chapter 76.

25 Contradictory Nature of the Tao When a superior man hears of the Tao, he immediately begins to embody it. When an average man hears of the Tao, he half believes it, half doubts it. When a foolish man hears of the Tao, he laughs out loud. If he did not laugh, it would not be the Tao. Thus it is said: The path into the light seems dark, the path forward seems to go back, the direct path seems long, true power seems weak, true purity seems tarnished, true steadfastness seems changeable, true clarity seems obscure, the greatest art seems unsophisticated, the greatest love seems indifferent, the greatest wisdom seems childish. The Tao is nowhere to be found. Yet it nourishes and completes all things. Chapter 41

26 A Similar Idea She who is centered in the Tao can go anywhere she wishes without danger. She perceives the universal harmony, even amid great pain, because she has found peace in her heart. Music or the smell of good cooking may make people stop and enjoy. But words that point to the Tao seem monotonous and without flavor. When you look for it, there is nothing to see. When you listen for it, there is nothing to hear. When you use it, it is inexhaustible. Chapter 35

27 The Taoist Person The ancient masters were profound and subtle. Their wisdom was unfathomable. There is no way to describe it; all we can describe is their appearance. They were careful as someone crossing an iced-over stream. Alert as a warrior in enemy territory. Courteous as a guest. Fluid as melting ice. Shapeable as a block of wood. Receptive as a valley. Clear as a glass of water. Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving until the right actions arises by itself? The Master doesn’t seek fulfillment. Not seeking, not expecting, she is present and can welcome all things. Chapter 15

28 Leadership When the Master governs, the people are hardly aware he exists. Next best is a leader who is loved. Next, one who is feared. The worst is one who is despised. If you don’t trust the people, you make them untrustworthy. The Master doesn’t talk, he acts. When his work is done, the people say, “Amazing: we did it ourselves!” Chapter 17

29 How To Rule If you want to be a great leader, you must learn to follow the Tao. Stop trying to control. Let go of fixed plans and concepts, and the world will govern itself. The more prohibitions you have, the less virtuous people will be. The more weapons you have, the less secure people will be. The more subsidies you have, the less self-reliant people will be. Therefore the Master says, I let go of the law, and the people became honest. I let go of economics, and the people became prosperous. I let go of religion, and the people became serene. I let go of the desire for the common good, and the good became as common as grass. Chapter 57

30 Living Simply If a country is governed wisely, its inhabitants will be content. They enjoy the labor of their hands and don’t waste time inventing labor-saving machines. Since they dearly love their homes, they aren’t interested in travel. There may be a few wagons and boats, but these don’t go anywhere. There may be an arsenal of weapons, but nobody ever uses them. People enjoy their food, take pleasure in being with their families, spend weekends working in their gardens, delight in the doings of the neighborhood. And even though the next country is so close that people can hear its roosters crowing and its dogs barking, they are content to die of old age without ever having seen it. Chapter 80

31 How Taoism Works When the Tao is forgotten, goodness and piety appear. When the body’s intelligence declines, cleverness and knowledge step forth. When there is no peace in the family, filial piety begins. When the country falls into chaos, patriotism is born. Ch. 18

32 Social Interaction The supreme good is like water, which nourishes without trying to. It is content with the low places that people disdain. Thus it is like the Tao. In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present. When you are content to simply be yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you. Ch. 8

33 A Final Idea There was something formless and perfect before the universe was born. It is serene. Empty. Solitary. Unchanging. Infinite. Eternally present. It is the mother of the universe. For lack of a better name, I call it the Tao. It flows through all things, inside and outside, and returns to the origin of all things. The Tao is great. The universe is great. Earth is great. Man is great. These are the four great powers. Man follows earth. Earth follows the universe. The universe follows the Tao. The Tao follows only itself. Ch. 25

34 Religious Taoism 2 nd century CE 2 nd century CE Hsein or “Immortals” Taoism Hsein or “Immortals” Taoism –Many gods –Worship of ancestors –Magic –Rituals done by priests Chang Tao Ling Chang Tao Ling –1 st Celestial Master –Afterlife based on good and bad deeds on earth controlled by deities who are, in turn, controlled by a priesthood from his family –Borrows from many other religions

35 Key Ideas Three treasures in our bodies (mirror the universe) Three treasures in our bodies (mirror the universe) –Ching or the generative force –Ch’I or the vital life force –Shen or the personal spirit/mind Breath and energy used Breath and energy used –To build a reservoir of ching below the navel –Rises up spine as vapor and becomes ch’I –Goes into head as shen (like third eye) –Drops to heart and then to inside the ching area to form an Immortal Fetus – which can leave the body –Ch’i-kung is the harmonization of inner and outer energy. Takes many years to do.

36 T’ai-chi Chuan Form of exercise to move ch’I through the body Form of exercise to move ch’I through the body 10 th century was when it developed 10 th century was when it developed Practices yielding and harmony Practices yielding and harmony


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