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Lecture

March 15th.docx


Department
Religion
Course Code
RELI 2732
Professor
Angela Sumegi

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RELI 2372 A, March 15, 2012
The class needs another note taker, email them if interested.
She will continue to post lecture notes on WebCT for us. The second part she hopes to watch today.
The discussion board: the board is there to discuss the course content, post questions. It’s an academic
discussion. There is a summer study program in India, at U of O, it looks a Jainism. If you’re interested,
let her know, not through WebCT.
Chinese religions
In general, Chinese religions reflect four strands of influence. Ancient indigenous beliefs, (spirits, triple
world of hell, earth, and Jade emperor), the three great religious traditions of china, Confucianism,
Buddhism, and Daoism.
Confucianism: interest in right and wrong, the proper way
Daoism: interest in mystical way of nature, dao, magic inherent in nature of things
Buddhism: karma, cause and effect, merit and demerit
Non exclusivity, people can be all at the same time, in general, religion is not what you believe, but what
you do. Orthopraxy vs. orthodoxy.
It’s hard to imagine being two at the same time, but eastern traditions emphasize the actions rather
than the beliefs you have. What is expected out of religious practice is a practical positive effect. It will
get better.
Chinese approach is practical; it’s a reciprocal relationship between people and the deities. If the people
fulfill obligations (offering and worship), and the god does not fulfill his, there is no point continuing the
relationship.
Video:
Taiwan, 17 mill, Taipei capital. The most beautiful island. They may be all 3 religions at once. The
beginning is undifferentiated potential, the chaos, from which sprung the yin and yang. They spread to
the four corners and brought balance. Good and evil are not opposites, a balance of yin and yang is
good, an imbalance if evil.
Earth god’s birthday. Start with gods of the people, shrine under a tree, on a hill, by a river. All the gods
are organized in hierarchy, the jade emperor at top, and other gods are specific to that village. If he does
not do his job properly, a man of the town can dismiss him. You worship them as long as they do their
part.
Modern medicine is alongside old medicine, the balance of yin and yang in the medicine will bring
balance in the body.
Perhaps we define a religion that makes us unable to see religion in china.
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