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Religion in China China Study Tour,2004 Susan Daly.

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Presentation on theme: "Religion in China China Study Tour,2004 Susan Daly."— Presentation transcript:

1 Religion in China China Study Tour,2004 Susan Daly

2 Communism & Religion All of our local guides told us that religion was not acceptable for communist party members who want to advance but that anyone else could feel free to practice their religious beliefs openly. The only exception is Falun Gong. In our three weeks traveling across 9 cities from north to western and southern China we visited many active temples full of people. One of my fellow teachers commented, For a communist country, there sure are an awful lot of worshipers

3 Buddhism in China Susan Daly

4 Buddhism came to China along the Silk Roads from India where it was started in the 5 th century BCE by Siddhartha Gautama.It brought with it several symbols shown in many Buddhist images. The most familiar is the lotus flower, a symbol of purity, renunciation and divinity. Buddha is often shown sitting on a lotus.

5 Another important symbol is the Golden Wheel. The wheel represents motion, continuity and change, forever moving onwards like the wheel of heaven.The eight spokes point in the eight directions and symbolize Buddhas Eightfold Path: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

6 Buddha reaching nirvana with his family nearby.

7 Big Wild Goose Pagoda Buddha

8 Big Wild Goose Pagoda & Buddhist monastery in Xian

9 Statue of Buddha – Xian

10 Buddhist monk, Xuangzang leaving Xian on pilgrimage to India and the sacred places of Buddhism. His travels took him over 25,000 miles.

11 Leshan carved Buddha- 25 stories tall

12 Buddhaa hand can hold 100 people on it.

13 Since the Taliban blew up the 2 Buddhas at Bamyan, Afghanistan, Leshan is the largest carved statue of Buddha in the world. It is mainly visible from the river because it was carved where 3 rivers converge to stop the many drownings which took place there and quiet the water. It did stop the rapids.There are stairs which circle the statue to allow you to get several views of it as you climb around it.


15 30 foot tall head



18 Even though this is an old statue of Buddha, children were allowed to climb on it.

19 Buddhist Pilgrimage in western China Mt. Emei – a sacred Buddhist mountain

20 Mt. Emei is over 10,000 feet tall. The act of climbing it, is also an act of worship. There are five different Buddhist monasteries at different levels of the mountain. At each stage, pilgrims can stop, pray, and rest. There are four mountains sacred to Buddha in China.

21 Lingyan Buddhist Temple

22 Pilgrims offer incense at this stop along their journey up Mt. Emei. There were several large racks like this one to hold the burning bundles of incense. The smell was incredible but it was also smoky.

23 Lingyan Temple Bell All temples have a large bell which is part of specific ceremonies.

24 Interior painting of a Lion which looks to westerners like a certain breed of dog.

25 To reach the next level of Mt. Emei, we took a cable car but most pilgrims walk up the mountain as part of the pilgrimage. It was a cloudy, overcast day with lots of mist so our trip up the mountainside was lovely but not spectacular as a sunny day would have been.


27 Wannian Temple on Mt. Emei


29 A fish hanging in this direction says a pilgrim may stay for free here.

30 Monastery buildings

31 Wannian Monastery Wannian monastery was a beautiful, peaceful place to contemplate and study Buddhism. It had incredible butterflies and wild monkeys which we never saw. The monks here were as intrigued by us as we were by them. This place was the first time, I truly felt like a curiosity since few westerns go here.

32 A Buddhist monk

33 A Buddhist stupa

34 While we visited Wannian, there was a ceremony which involved a large group of pilgrims chanting. It was an incredible sound but all of us felt it would be wrong to photograph them in a religious ceremony.

35 Beautiful & peaceful surroundings

36 Collecting the days donations

37 Buddhist prayer wheel

38 In every Buddhist temple we visited, there was a line of prayer wheels. As people would walk through the temple grounds, they would give the wheels a turn so there was always this gentle sound coming from the row of wheels. Children loved to get all of the wheels spinning at one time.

39 Ladies at worship on Mt. Emei

40 Huge Buddhist Prayer wheels

41 As we toured the 2 Buddhist monasteries on Mt.Emei, we were a curiosity for many of the pilgrims we saw along our travels. It was the most foreign I felt in all of China. One blonde teacher had people ask if they could have their picture taken with her because she was so different.

42 John and a Buddhist monk at Wannian Temple on Mt. Emei

43 John waited a long time to try on his monks robe. The shop would not sell him an actual robe but one made for tourists. Once he posed for us with it on, one of the monks came out and asked us to take his picture with John. Without a word of Chinese we communicated with him and took his camera for the photo.

44 Mt.Emei is a beautiful natural environment with 5 monasteries leading up to its peak. We saw 2 and along the way saw gorgeous scenery and many types of butterflies. We did not see the monkeys who also live on its slopes. Since they are quite wild, our group was relieved not to have seen the monkeys.

45 Daoism We visited several Taoist temples in China. They were not as brightly colored as Buddhist temples but were also well attended by worshipers. Daoism is native to China and was developed during the late Zhou and Warring States period when much of China was engulfed in wars.

46 Laozi is the person associated with Daoism and his main work is the,Classic of the Way. In Daoism, humans have separated themselves from the Way ( Tao) by plotting, planning, organizing when they should instead be accepting and surrendering to events. Daoists were critical of Confucian activism. They focused their energy on reflection so they could learn to live in harmony with the natural world.

47 Islam in Xian Islam came to China across the Silk Roads which ended in Xian. There is still a small Muslim community in Xian today. There are approximately 8,000 Muslims active in Xians mosques.

48 Tang courtyard

49 Incense burners

50 An ornament for a grave.

51 Islam in China Islam came across the Silk Roads to Xian. It stayed and today there is a community of 8,000 Muslims in Xian. The Mosque we visited looked exactly like a Chinese temple except the writing was done in Arabic script. We heard the call to prayer for Friday evening services being sung by at this mosque.


53 Arabic Script

54 Xian Mosque

55 An ancient sacred well

56 Men gathering for Friday Prayers.

57 A very Chinese looking tablet.

58 Main entrance to the mosque.

59 The Chinese government has left Muslims alone in the Xian area but has persecuted Muslims in far western China because of fears over rising Islamic Fundamentalism in that area. We saw no signs that the worshippers were at all worried about practicing their faith in public.

60 Confucian Traditions Kong Fuzi, BCE, looked at social order and political problems of his era. His followers knew him as Master Philosopher Kong but the west knows him as Confucius. He was born in Lu in northern China and tried for many years for a government post at the Lu court. He was not always easy to get along with.

61 The most famous work of Kong Fuzi was, The Analects.In this book, Confucius detailed how political and social harmony in society came from the proper ordering of human relationships. He advocated placing people into government positions based on their being well educated and very conscientious. The need for a strong sense of moral integrity was a key part of any officials character for Confucius.

62 Confucius is on the right with a guardian on his left.

63 Our guide is explaining how the son carrying his elderly parents is an example of Filial Piety.

64 A Confucian scholar/official


66 Two grumpy looking officials

67 Working in harmony with nature.

68 The Court officials

69 The artist used the natural flow of the rock to portray rural life.

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