Chinese Religions - Chinese Culture Introduction

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Chinese Religions

 

 

 

Being brought into China 2,000 years ago, it was gradually widely accepted by most Chinese people and developed into three sections, namely the Han, Tibetan and Southern Buddhism. Buddhism not only brought a different religion, but also brought a different culture. It influences the local culture on three main aspects: literature, art and ideology. Many famous poems have ideas from Buddhism and many Buddhist stone statues can be found, which show its huge influence. It also promotes the countries intercultural communications with foreign countries. In Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), Jianzhen traveled to Japan to spread Buddhism as well as Chinese culture. Xuanzang, who traveled to India to learn Buddhist doctrines, brought a plenty information on the language of the countries he had been to.
Now, Buddhism has developed into the most important religion in the country. The latest survey shows that 31% of the people who do not believe in this religion have participated in some Buddhist activities and about 17 million people have already become converts. Now more of those followers come from different walks of life such as the intellectuals, business elites and the common people. Recently, there is a new report, The Chinese Luxury Consumer White Paper 2012, jointly published by the Industrial Bank and Hurun Report, which shows that 39% of the intellectuals and businessmen have faith in Buddhism. Not only the number of the followers is increasing, and the education of Buddhism obtains more attention from the society. Under the Buddhist Association of China, 34 different levels of Buddhist academies as well as almost 50 magazines can be found. Now in mainland China, there are about 13 thousand temples and 180 thousand monks and nuns.

 Confucianism

Confucianism, not a real religion, is just an ethical and philosophical system, which developed from Confucius thoughts and later was treated as a kind of belief to educate common people. It obtained its stable position under the reign of Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty (202BC-220AD), and became the ideology of the society in the feudal system since then. Based on the Four Books and Five Classics, the traditions and principles in the Confucianism played an important role in the formation of Chinese peoples thinking patterns and teaching methods. For instance, Doctrine of the Mean can be seen on communications among people. Now, to some extent, where Chinese people stay or live, there will be Confucianism.
Confucianism has worldwide influence. In many countries and regions of world such the UK, USA, branches of Confucius Institutes are established in recent years to spread Chinese culture and expand the language. In China, you can find many Confucius temples, which is an important place for the candidates for important exams. In Beijing, They hang some red wooden plates with lucky words in the Confucius Temple in the hope of gaining high marks and a good future.

 Taoism

Taoism, with more than 1,800 years history originated in the Warring Period and came into being in Eastern Han Dynasty (25 - 220). Now about 300 Taoist Temples are scattered around China, in which about 30 thousand Taoists lived in. Around 5 Taoist schools exist in the country and two main sections are included in Taoism. In the 1,800 years, Taoism influenced the local culture deeply, especially on traditional medicine and literature. Based on some theories of alchemists such as Wei Boyang in Eastern Han Dynasty, different kinds of medicine prescriptions were created by Sun Simiao and many other doctors. In literature, many fictional characters are closely related with Taoism, such as the Jade Emperor. Apart from Mainland China, many Taoists live in Hong Kong, Macau and some foreign countries.

Islam

Being introduced into China in the 7th century in Tang Dynasty, Islam has more than 1,400 years history in the country. Now, Muslims live everywhere, but the highest concentrations are Ningxia Hui Autonosmous Region, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Gansu Province and even Qinghai Province. Sunni Islam was the main branch worshipped by almost all the Muslims in the country.

 

 

Christianity

Christianity was first introduced to China in Tang Dynasty, which was named as Nestorianism during that time. After 1840, they swept the country. Although they were suspended after 1949, it spread fast in recent years. Now about 30 million Chinese people are Christians, who are organized in about 97 parishes. Most of Christians gather in the south part of the country.