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Lecture 10

SOC3110 lecture 10

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University of Guelph
SOC 3110

East Asian Religions • Early religious thought in China: HeavenHuman Earth • The inseparability of religion and culture • The syncretism or combination of religions • The people adhere to more than one religions, and yet some of them might not be very “religious” • Examples: Confucianism, Taoism (Daoism), Yin-tang school, Chinese Buddhism • “religions”? “philosophies”? “ways of life”? • Neolethic period (beginning the late fourth millennium BCE): Neolethic Burials, Goddess worship, Believed in an afterlife • Shang—Zhou—Chu—Xia o Oracle bones & divination o Human Sacrifice o Role of Shamans – Kings as Shamans; “mandate of heaven”, different from the Japanese belief o Heavenly Deities, Natural Deities, Ancestral spirits, Sage Kings • Five Emperors: o Yellow Emperor o Chuan-hsu o Yao o Shun o Yu • Geomacy –feng shui – Five directions, Specific colours, elements and signifiers • Confucius – Kong tzu o Analects –conversations with his disciples o The virtue of humaneness: a doctrine of reciprocity and neighbourliness as the ideal of the moral character of human relationships. o “Never do to others what you would like them to do to you” o Five relationships, each with its norms and duties:  Ruler and minister,  Father and son,  Husband and wife,  Elder and younger brother,  Friend and friend o The ideal of “ren”: goodness, benevolence, humanity, human- heartedness • A later Confucian thinker, Mencius, is known for his declaration that everyone has the potential to become a sage, i.e., upholding the basic goodness of human nature, and evil is merely a deflection from the good. • Mencius’ idea was opposed by Hsun-tzu, who explains that the evil in human nature: “Man’s nature is evil; goodness is the result of conscious activity. The nature of man is such that he is born with a fondness of profit … Therefore, man must fir
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