RLG100Y1 Lecture Notes - Religion In China

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26 Mar 2011
World Religions
Reading: Ch. 9 “Chinese Religions,” pp. 467-498
March 25th, 2011.
Meaning human heartedness, optimizing ones self as a human being
Has all associations of benevolence, kindness, virtue, love
Has broader metaphysical associations suggestions much bigger concept of virtue
as defining the nature of heaven and therefore the idea of Jen as being the purpose
of human existence is cultivation of these virtues
All things in universe are maybe understood as operating in a set of
interdependent and oppositional categories, e.g. concepts of good and bad, hard
and soft, cold and hot
All elements in universe are composed of some sort of negotiation of these
oppositional categories
Cannot have one without the other
East Asian world view interprets universe as being composed of these mutually
interdependent qualities
The ying/yang symbol is a circle represented wholeness, 2 elements of dark and
light and hard line in middle suggesting these are fluid qualities blending this way
and that accommodating one and the other, and also the dark element is not
completely dark and light is not completely light containing qualities of the other
within itself
Major symbol of East Asian worldview with understanding universe as
harmonious whole composed of elements that seem to be oppositional but are at
the same time interdependent and fluid in accommodation with each other
Ying – more submissive quality – gentle, receptive, fluid quality
Yang – light, hard, dominant
If applied to human realm, one element dominates and the other submits, one
takes the initiative and the other is receptive, and the two of them working in this
way, recognizing their position, working to actualize their particular qualities in
the most benevolent way possible, this is what goes to serve the purpose of
harmony in the whole circle
The “way”
Has associations with the way heaven works, interactions b/w heaven and earth
emerge and what we’re trying to do in our human interaction is to replicate the
way that we observe enacting itself in the larger cosmic relationship b/w heaven
and earth
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