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A New Phase of Chinese Religion . Appearance of large-scale, organized religious movements New faiths provided: new visions of the place of humankind in the cosmos New religious institutions transcended ties of kinship, locality and political hierarchy

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A New Phase of Chinese Religion


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slide2

Appearance of large-scale, organized religious movements

  • New faiths provided:
    • new visions of the place of humankind in the cosmos
    • New religious institutions transcended ties of kinship, locality and political hierarchy
    • Social, emotional, and intellectual needs not satisfied by the old cults of ancestors (zuxian祖先), gods of soil and grain (sheji社稷), and sacrifices o Heaven (tian天)
slide3

Redefined Public Spaces--

The rise of new faiths/cults and its implications

new faiths
New Faiths
  • The cult of the Queen Mother of the West (Xiwangmu)
    • Immortal being dwelled in the Kunlun Mountain
    • Immortal peaches
  • “Revealed text”
  • Belief in afterlife and celestial bureaucracy
slide5

Founders of institutional religions

    • Ambitiousleadersofpopular movements claimed to receive “revealed texts”
    • Launched organized religious movement and preached millenarian visions of collective redemption
      • Yellow Turbans
      • Five Pecks of Grain (Rice)
        • Later Known as the Way of the Heavenly Masters under its leader Zhang Daoling
daoism
Daoism
  • The cult of the Queen Mother of the West is often regarded as a proto-Daoist movement and immediate ancestor of institutional religions in China
  • The Queen Mother of the West was incorporated into the Daoist hierarchies of divinities, and constituted an important element of Daoist celestial bureaucracy
  • The ideas of immortality spread widely since then and became theorized later
    • Daoist masters and adepts promoted alchemical practices
      • Providing manuals that teaches alchemy, breathing and meditation exercises, exorcism, sexual hygiene, herbalism, talismanic charms etc
ge hong the theorizer
Ge Hong: the theorizer
  • Ge Hong (284-343), the most prominent Daoist whose theory of immortality and recipe for an elixir became popular
    • Author of The Master Who Embraces Simplicity (Bao Puzi)
  • Known as the first Daoist theorist of longevity and immortality
  • Regarded as the foremost expert possessing alchemical skills to compound “immortality drug” or “divine elixir”
    • Called “immortal cinnabar” (xiān dān) or “golden cinnabar” (jin dān), “cinnabar drug” (dān yào), “spirit-like cinnabar” (shén dān)
    • Developed recipes to make “nine cinnabars”
the baopu zi
The Baopu zi
  • General content
    • Ultimate goal of life: to become an immortal
    • Immortal beings exist
      • But no longer dwell among men
    • Three grades:
      • Highest: Celestial transcendents (heavens)
      • Middle: Earthly transcendents (mountains)
      • Lowest: those who simulate death by providing a substitute body
techniques for achieving immortality
Techniques for achieving Immortality
  • Manipulation of the body’s qi 氣(energy)
    • Through breathing, gymnastic, and sexual exercises
    • Retain yang qi (positive energy) and expel yin qi (negative energy)
    • Absorb energy from outside and remove all internal blockage
    • Purify flesh through restrictive diet
      • Abstain from meat, strong-smelling vegetable, or cereals.
      • Live on a natural diet of tree bark, fungi, dew, herbs, and assorted chemical concoctions
immortality and alchemy
Immortality and Alchemy
  • Waidan (外丹): Outer, External, Exoteric Alchemy
    • Ingest chemical substances to purge the body of noxious influences
    • Chemical compounds consist of gold dust, arsenic, natural cinnabar (can be replaced by a synthetic variety concocted from sulfur, saltpeter, and mercury
    • Medicinal herbs and fungi
slide14
Neidan (內丹): Inner, internal, esoteric alchemy
    • A meditative practice closely related to breathing exercises
    • Practitioner creates an inner furnace and crucible through intense visualization of certain trigrams from the Book of Change
    • This produces new purifying compounds which circulate through the body

trigrams

evolution of daoism
Evolution of Daoism

Daoist schools emerged:

Shangqing上清 the Highest Clarity (Supreme Purity), aka., the Maoshan School 茅山

Lingbao 靈寶 (the Numinous Treasure)

The legendary Laozi was apotheosized and new Daoist deities were created

Idea of preserving and guarding life force became predominant in Daoist circle

Longevity and immortality became major goals

shangqing maoshan school
Shangqing/Maoshan School
  • Founder: Yang Xi
  • Claimed to receive sacred documents/texts, revealed to him by a certain goddess Wei Huacun
  • Argued that the Heaven of Supreme Purity is the highest realm of the hierarchy of Heavens, higher than the Heaven of Great Purity
  • Represented intellectual Daoism
    • stressed inner alchemy
    • Advocated the importance of cultural sensitivity and literary cultivation, including appreciation of calligraphy and poetry
slide17
Influence of Inner and Outer Alchemy:

Ways to prolong life were sought and researched

Meditation theory and skill further developed

Interest in medicines, drugs, herbs, rare plants…increased

alchemical recipes were developed

books and manuals regarding regimen, longevity, and immortality being written and circulated widely

slide18

Alchemy and Medicine

手太陰肺經經筋圖

slide19

Dumai: governing vessel

Renmai: Conception Vessel

Located along the front of the torso

Runs along the spine

slide21

Searched for and studied further longevity techniques leading to immortality

    • Transformed all qi into primordial qi
    • Turned this refined qi into pure spirit
  • Body and Mind Exercises
    • Intensive meditation
    • Trance training
    • special diet: e.g., abstention from meat, alcohol, garlic, grains and ate only limited fruits
    • Gymnastics, messages, and breathing exercises

The “Gymnastics Chart” (Daoyin tu) from the tomb at Mawangdui, Hunan

buddhism and its sinicization
Buddhism and Its Sinicization

Began to flourish

Scriptures were translated and studied

Monasteries were built, teachings were spread

Followers increased

Adaptation and transformation

“Dark Studies” involve topic related to Buddhism

Monks were conversant in Confucian texts, joined “Dark Studies” and debates…

Chinese intellectuals engaged in the study and interpretation of Buddhist doctrines according to their own understanding

The “Matching Meaning” approach was used in translating scriptures

Five precepts (prohibitions: not killing, not stealing, not committing sexual misconduct, not drinking, not lying =humaneness (benevolence), righteousness, propriety, wisdom and trustworthiness

buddhist monks
Buddhist Monks
  • Important foreign monks:
    • Miracle worker: Fotucheng (Futudeng), from Qiuci (Kutsi, Kucina, Kusen), aka., Kucha
    • Great Translator: Kumarajiva, also from Qiuci
  • Chinese monks:
    • Huiyuan (334-416), introduced new practices called “Pure Land” faith
    • Faxian (ca. 337-422), known for making a pilgrimage to India from 399-414 and brought back scriptures for translation
slide24
Integration in Chinese culture

China’s landscape

Art and literature

Intellectual life

Political life

Common people’s lives

Wall painting depicting Jataka stories

buddhism major tenets
Buddhism: Major tenets

Four noble truths

Eightfold path

Wisdom: right thoughts, right understanding

Morality: right speech, right action, right livelihood

Mental discipline: right efforts, right mindfulness, right concentration

slide26
Dependent origination and chains of causation

Impermanence

Karma and rebirth

Wall painting: “Five hundred thieves attain Buddhahood”

the three poisons
The Three Poisons

Desire (greed): rooster

Hatred: snake

Ignorance: pig

buddhism and common people s lives
Buddhism and Common People’s Lives

Attracted to eminent monks

Included theurgists, such as Baozhi, Sengqie

Made donations to monasteries

Practiced sutra-copying and recitation

Sponsored carving, sculpturing, and painting of images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas

slide29
Praying to the Buddha and Buddhist deities

became integrated in the worship of ancestor and heaven

Devotees of the Pure Land faith increased

Increasing number of women entered monasteries

Strange/anomalous tales abounded

Wall painting in a tomb: “Filial Son Feeding Parents”

convergence of interest the mixture of buddhism and daoism
Convergence of Interest—the Mixture of Buddhism and Daoism

Scholars and the faithful began to fuse Daoism and Buddhism

The idea of immortality became widely recognized and accepted

Legendary heroes were enshrined as Daoist immortals and deities

Expansion of local cults

Daoists mixed Buddhist theories of causation, reward, rebirth, hells into their belief system

Philosophy of nature greatly impacted Chinese literature and art

elixir and fairy tale
Elixir and Fairy Tale

Hou Yi the Archer

Wife Chang E stole elixir that Hou Yi received from Queen Mother of the West

After ingesting the elixir, Chang E became immortal.

She flied to the moon and lived there forever.