Key Terms on East Asia Religions
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Key Terms for the Lecture on East Asian Religions:
1. Heaven –Heaven came to be portrayed as an impartial universal being or power in the
Zhou dynasty, an intelligent cosmic moral order that is concerned with human welfare
and so gives people a caring and virtuous king. The universe a unity under heaven. The
Heaven Principle states that Heaven regulates the world and the moral order. Humans had
their genesis from the Heaven and Earth principle
2. Human - Humans are an integral part of the world view. For humans, family and society
are the most important links to the universe. According to the Heaven Principle, Humans
had their genesis from the Heaven and Earth principle. The expectations of humans are to
observe official and ancestor rites, honor parents and fulfill familial obligations, function
within the state regulated rules and values & exercise benevolence and mutuality with
3. Earth - Every religious thought in China come from the Heaven-Human-Earth chain.
Humans had their genesis from the Heaven and Earth principle. The second hexagram in
the “Classic of changes” means receptive. Earth consists of two yin trigrams and is a
symbol of female
4. Confucianism - The ideal of the Confucian way of life is to live a life according to the
Confucian values in this world through family and society.
5. Confucius / Kong Tzu - The 1st teacher of Confucianism, known in the west as
Confucius. He spoke of himself as a transmitter of tradition rather than an innovator,
Confucius believed that the ancient rites embodied wisdom from the earliest Zhou
tradition and they should not be abandoned. The virtue of humaneness: a doctrine of
reciprocity and neighborliness as the ideal of the moral character of human relationships.
“Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you.”
6. Taoism (Daoism) – the concept that the universe in one, but always in a state of flux;
Taoists follow the teachings of Lao Tzu. There is no beginning or end. Human Life is an
expression of the Tao & to share in its never ending evolution. One may become
immortal by mastering the Tao and its power. There is an obligation to support the
Temples, monasteries and Taoist priesthood
7. oracle bones - Oracle bones & divination were used in the Shang – Zhou – Chu – Xia
dynasties by shamans, as were human sacrifices
8. shamans – a priest that acts as an intermediary between the human world and the spirit
world. In Chinese tradition, Kings traditionally played the role of shaman as a Mandate of
heaven. Nature deities, ghosts, spirits were summoned in case of demonic disturbances
and performed rituals in Korean shamanism.
9. Yellow Emperor – refers to the mythical sage-ruler, Huangdi; frequently used in
Zhuangzi as references for discussing themes of health, long life and immorality. It is
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