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THEO 403 (Fa '14) T12 - Chinese Popular Religion

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by

Hartmut Scherer

on 15 November 2014

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Transcript of THEO 403 (Fa '14) T12 - Chinese Popular Religion

Chinese Popular Religion
Buddhism
Introduction
Traditional Religion
Popular Synthesis
Lesson adapted from Winfried Corduan, Neighboring Faith (IVP, 1998), 280-307;
Religious symbols from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Religious_computer_icons; Nov 7, 2012.
Beliefs & Practices
Buddhism
- many common people in China worship Buddha
as god
1
Buddhism Daoism and Confucianism in China
Ancestor worship (at home)
Ethics
Shanghai Confucian Temple
Characteristics
- earliest records in Shang Dynasty (~1500 B.C.)
- heaven and earth are linked together in
one organic cosmos (events in one arena
affect the state of the other)
a close relationship between state and religion
an emphasis on divination
Basic balance of nature
- is found in yin and yang
(2 energy modes)
Buddhism -
Daoism -
Confucianism -
Main Concern
Psychology and the nature of the mind
health and the human body
political ideas and social harmony
Each succeeding dynasty in China’s long history – including the present Communist Party rule – has claimed that the previous rulers were corrupt, unjust, and incompetent, and that their rebellion was Heaven’s way of bestowing the mandate of authority upon a more worthy regime. (Mandate of heaven; http://www.globalchinacenter.org/analysis/chinese-history-culture/chinese-popular-religion.php; retrieved Nov 6, 2012)
discovering the state of the basic balance of nature and finding the remedy for balancing it again (if it is out of balance)
yang:
active, warm, dry, bright,
procreative, expansive, "heaven" (male)
yin:
fertile and breeding, dark, cold, wet, mysterious, secret, "earth" (female)
- objects change characteristics dependent on
their inner activity
yin or yang?
yin or yang?
What is the complement to thunder?
Ancestor veneration
-
dao
is the correct "way" of things in proper
harmony
Ancestor worship shelf
- ancestor veneration relates closely to the
Chinese conception of the soul
yang section of the soul (called
hun
) will look after the family
will give rest to the
p'o
yin segment of the soul (called
p'o
) can become a ghost
hun
will bless the family
correct performance of ancestral rites
Origin:
- religion based on the
philosophy of Laozi
Essential beliefs and practices:
- Daode Jing
Major contemporary divisions:
Scriptures:
- Daoism has tended to
attach itself to other
religious forms
- harmony of yin and yang in
the world, which needs to
be kept in balance through
correct spiritual practices
Summary of Daoism
1
Adapted from Corduan, Winfried, A Tapestry of Faiths (IVP, 2002), 22.
1
1
- stresses magic and the
worship of personal gods
Dao priest
Characteristics of Daoism
- the most influential religion among Chinese
people (after Confucianism)
- Lao-zi’s disciples wrote down
the Dao-De-Jing
Dao
means “way”
de
means “power or virtue”
jing
means "book"
}
“book of the way and its power”
What is Dao?
- solution to all problems: do as little as possible
- dao must reveal itself
- dao is non-dual
- the ultimate reality is beyond categories
Daoist Ethics
- become a good person who lives in harmony
with all things and people.
Adopted from BBC, Taoism at http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/taoism/taoethics/ethics_1.shtml; retrieved Nov 8, 2012.
1
1
- changing oneself in that way will make the
world a better place
- Daoists tend not to initiate action - but wait
for events to make action necessary
Masters of the recipe for immortality (fang-shi)
- a group of people developed an interest in magic
and alchemy (Han dynasty 206 BC–220 AD)
- used the balanced forces of nature for their own
benefit
Goal:
they wanted to increase their
life force qi
in order to attain immortality
- eight achieved immortality (legend)
Further development
popular religions regarded Dao-de-jing and Lao-zi as divine
philosophical search of immortality
~1000 AD
hierarchy of gods
and a
priesthood
that served in temples
Origin:
- Confucius, circa sixth
century B.C.
Essential beliefs and practices:
- Analects
Major contemporary divisions:
Scriptures:
- none
- ethical system that orders
one’s duties and
obligations in society
Summary of Confucianism
1
Adapted from Corduan, Winfried, A Tapestry of Faiths (IVP, 2002), 22.
1
- includes religious
observances
- other Confucian writings
Confucius (551-479 B.C.)
- lived in a critical period of Chinese history
He observed:
China of his day was disturbingly corrupt
the moral condition of the country was not beyond redemption
individuals had not yet become corrupt
Where did he find hope for his country?
What are the three principles?
- principle of
REN
"the attitude of seeking the welfare of other people"
Four Immortals Salute Longevity
- principle of
LI
doing the right thing at the right time, "propriety"
- principle of "
FILIAL PIETY
"
the veneration that is due to parents in life must
be continued after death
The principle of
li
is of vital importance in ordering and regulating the five principal human relationships:
a)Ruler and subject
b)father and son
c)husband and wife
d)the eldest son and his younger brothers
e)elders and juniors (or friends)
- Buddhism plays an important role in the end of
one’s life
Basic beliefs of Chinese popular thoughts
- materialistic orientation
TEMPLES OF CPR
- places of communication
and transaction
- luck
- CPR takes place at home
Fortune teller
- people burn incense
sticks (joss sticks)
Typical Chinese Popular Religion (CPR)
- is communal, not individual
- communication is marked by a less direct interaction
- emotions are rarely displayed in public
- severe conflict is measured by the quietness of
the conversation
- strongly influenced by a supernatural worldview
Sharing the gospel
- one point of contact is the supernatural worldview
- minimize individualistic, confrontational, emotional
aspects of a Gospel presentation
- be prepared for extreme resistence
- showing respect to those who passed away is a
positive way of
ancestor veneration
Full transcript