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RLGA01 Lecture 08 Notes.docx

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Henry Shiu

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1 RLGA01 Lecture 08 (East Asian Religions)  Referring to the religions practiced in China; or brought from China to elsewhere  No belief in any deity or gods  Focuses more on the philosophy of life  Early religious thought in China: the 3 realms: heaven – human – earth; we are trapped between heaven and earth; heaven means the stars and earth means what we are standing on  Inseparability of the religion and culture; they are one  Chinese usually practice more than one religion at a time  Examples of East Asian Religions: Confucianism, Taoism (Daoism), Yin-yang school (school of thought that attempts to summarize what we see in our world into two elements, yin and yang), Chinese Buddhism  Neolethic period (beginning of the late 4 millennium BCE): goddess person, believed in an afterlife  Shang – Zhou – Chu – Xia: important people (?)  Other religious beliefs: oracle bones and divination, human sacrifice, roles of Shamans (leaders of the tribes, sometimes doctors, claimed that they get “mandate of heaven” as a way to claim authority)  Chinese believes in all types of deities (not in the sense of God):  Heavenly deities  Natural deities  Ancestral spirits: people who have passed away but still overseeing you and your actions  Sage Kings: same belief as the ancestral spirits  Five emperors (semi-realistic):  Yellow Emperor  Chuan-hsu  Yao: remembered for passing down his throne not to his son but to someone else who is smarter and able to be more successful  Shun  Yu: famous for the flooding problem of China  Geomancy (feng shui): five direction, specific colours, elements (earth, wind, fire, water, air, and earth) and signifiers  Confucius (Kong tzu):  Analects – conversations with his disciples  He lived in a time where there was a lot of war between the tribes in China  The virtue of humaneness: the idea of gratefulness and see everyone as equal  He talked about five relationships: ruler and minister, father and son, husband and wife, elder and younger brother, friend and friend  The ideal of “ren”: goodness, benevolence, humanity, human-heartedness  A later Confucian thinker: Mencius, claimed that everyone can become a sage and must hold this goodness within you and not let evil
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