Religions of china
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Religions of China. Confucianism Daoism Buddhism Folk religions Islam Judaism Christianity. Confucianism. Founded by Confucius (551-479 B.C.) Ideas compiled by followers in the Analects Emphasized man improving himself Teachings reinforced patriarchal system and centralized government

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Religions of china l.jpg

Religions of China




Folk religions




Confucianism l.jpg

  • Founded by Confucius (551-479 B.C.)

  • Ideas compiled by followers in the Analects

  • Emphasized man improving himself

  • Teachings reinforced patriarchal system and centralized government

  • Used rituals to the state & ancestors to promote / enhance this order

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The Confucian Ethic

Emphasis on Family

Five Relationships


Emphasis on education to become a fully realized human being





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Moral Dimension

“Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire”

The Analects, XII, 17

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Political Dimension

“To govern is to correct. If you set an example by being correct, who would dare to remain incorrect”.

The Analects, XII:17

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Spiritual Dimension

“You do not understand even life. How can you understand death?”

The Analects, XI;12

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Yan Liben (ca. 650)

Emperor Taizong giving audience ambassador from Tibet

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  • Founded by Laotzu (“Old Master”)

  • Ideas compiled by followers in Daodejing

  • Emphasized happiness by conforming with the way (Dao) of nature

  • Desire to escape social obligations

  • Promoted life especially through intuitive methods, not logic, reason and study

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Taoist Values

  • Nature befriended, not conquered

  • Eschews dichotomies

  • Pacifism

  • Spontaneity & naturalness

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Types of Taoists

  • Philosophical or Literati Taoists

    (Wu Wei)

  • Medical/self-cultivating Taoists

    (Maximize Qi with Qigong

  • Religious/communal Taoists

    (Harnessing higher powers for humane ends in monasteries and temples)

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Incense burner from tomb of Prince Liu Sheng, Han dynasty, (113 BCE) bronze inlaid with gold, 10 &1/2" high

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Rubbing from Wu Family Tomb, Han dynasty (113 BCE)

(ca. 147-151 CE) Shandong province

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Model of a House (113 BCE)

1st century CE

In Nelson-Atkins

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Folk Religions (113 BCE)

Kitchen God & Wife

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Buddhist Values (113 BCE)

  • Compassion

  • Suppression of ego

  • Living for others

Buddhists Avoid

  • Delusion

  • Craving

  • Hostility

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5 precepts of Buddhism (113 BCE)

  • Do not kill

  • Do not steal

  • Do not lie

  • Do not be unchaste

  • Do not do drugs or drink

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Other Axial Age Responses (113 BCE)

  • Hinduism developed by Brahmin priests in northern India - 500 BCE

  • Caste system in place

  • Based on the Upanishads:

    • promoted asceticism as the way

    • gave central concepts

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Central Hindu Concepts (113 BCE)

  • Brahman: the universal spiritual reality behind all perceptions

  • Atman: the human soul

  • Karma: “actions have consequences” and affect the rate of enlightenment and is different from the idea of “sin”

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Goals of the Ascetics (113 BCE)

  • Control bodily desires leading to mystic ecstasy

  • Increase good reduce bad karma

  • Unify Atman and the Brahman =

  • Enlightenment

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Further developments: Buddhism (113 BCE)

Siddhartha Gautama (563 – 483 BCE)

  • Searched for enlightenment

  • Found life clouded by suffering

  • Suffering ended and salvation attained / cycle of souls ended by moderation = Four Noble Truths

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Four Noble Truths (113 BCE)

  • Life is suffering

  • Desire causes suffering

  • Suffering stopped by non-desiring

  • Desire can be stopped by meditation and following the Eightfold Path

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The (113 BCE) Eightfold Path

  • Right views, Right aspirations

  • Right speech, Right conduct

  • Right livelihood, Right effort

  • Right mindedness, Right rapture

    So knowledge and good habits ends suffering and rebirth

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Early Buddhist Society (113 BCE)

  • No fixed hierarchies or priests, but individual responsibility

  • Buddha did not write things down

  • His students spread his teachings on:

    • Transmigration of souls

    • Effects of Karma

    • Four Noble Truths & Eight Fold Path

    • Nirvana: “blowing out” of the “ego”

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Innovative Doctrine (113 BCE)

  • Favored individual self-examination

  • Appealed to those outside of the aristocracy

  • Promoted education to all wanting it

  • No caste system / “gender-less”

  • Brahmans hostile to egalitarian and de-emphasis of rituals

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Buddhist Schools Develop (113 BCE)

  • Hinayana: “The Lesser Vehicle” no works after 480 B.C. accepted in Ceylon, Indo-China

  • Mahayana: “The Greater Vehicle”

    • Tibetan Buddhism, Chan, Zen, etc. in East Asia

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Buddhist Popularity (113 BCE)

  • Declined in India because lost imperial patronage in 400 CE

  • Successful at times in China, Nepal, Indo-China, Korea and Japan from 1st century CE onward

  • Followers increasing in the West now