Religious Studies 2140 2nd Mid-Term notes.doc

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Department
Religious Studies
Course
Religious Studies 2140
Professor
Terry Webb
Semester
Fall

Description
Religionstest 2History of ChinaChinese culture is ancient maybe even more ancient than Indian cultureFirst artifacts and sources date back to at least 600 BCEChinese culture already has its base a lot is in place alreadyCharacteristics of Chinese culture the bedrock of culture includes1Ancestor worship2Divination prophecy3Lunar calendar4Fully worked out idea of heaven and earthIn their idea there is considerable merging of heaven and earthdirect parallelwhat happens in heaven and what happens on earth are directly related to each otherex Heaven changes its mind over politics or nature but it is seen here on earthAny change on earth is originated mandated in heavenThe Chinese language is highly structured If you say something in the wrong tone or with the wrong inflection when dealing with someone above or below you there is a different meaningAll Chinese religions are in place before the schools of philosophy ariseThe ancient Chinese calendar goes back thousands of years and will not be altered by any philosophies that arise laterIn ancient Chinese culture there is an idea of a mythological kingdom called the Qin kingdom ruled by emperors There were a series of emperors The first and greatest was Jade emperor who lived for 28000 years When he died he and his goddess the queen of heaven went to heaven and became the heavenly parents Thus they are now in heaven but they once ruled the Qin Empire Over centuries the Qin kingdom developed it goes back thousands of years The first unified groups in China are far older than the groups in India hence Chinese culture is more ancient than Indian cultureThe Qin dynasty is one of the oldest civilizations on earth 7000 or 8000 years oldIt is in early time as in India that we get the stories of the creation of the Qin kingdom the structure of the Qin kingdom and ancient wisdom ancient books We dont know when these books originatedAncient Chinese wisdom was transmitted orally for centuriesThe books of ancient Chinese wisdom are theenergyQin Chin The most famous of the books of Chin is the Iching it is a hexagram with lines on each side of the hexagramAt the centre of the hexagram of Ching are the Yin and YangThere are many oral traditions They are ancient complex detailed and contain key ideas from ancient cultureImportant ideas from Qin ChinenergyChinese bedrock valley of informationThis valley of information would include ancestor worship a calendar and divination prophecyAll aspects of Qin have almost the complexity of a science that was tested and verifiedThe Chinese mind is conceptually brilliant and we can see that in its writingsINDIVIDUALISMIn Chinese culture the concept of individualism is unknown Absolutely nothing in Chinese culture has the concept of individualism in it The idea is that everyone must cooperate The idea of individualism is first in print in German in 1820Theres a concept of double happinessif you take one happiness out then the other cannot exist no happiness can exist on its ownex If you treat Dr Acres well youll have double happiness and his ancestors wont be ghosts to you however if you dont treat him well then his ancestors will be ghosts in your lifeIt is the efforts of the whole that will save the individualthe mechanism of sharing and cooperating is essentialANCESTOR WORSHIPIn Chinese culture there is a concept that our ancestors are with us and therefore we have a responsibility to take care of them and treat them wellYour ancestors are part of you and thus it is very important to honor themWe must look after their spirits because they have no bodies of their ownEach person has many ancestors and thus the earth is heavily populated by spiritsIf you go far enough back in history we are all related to each other and share common ancestorsOnce or twice a year its customary to go to the graveyard of your ancestors and to leave gifts and say prayersSpecifically once a year before crops a special offering is made to the ancestors to keep their spirits happyIf you keep your ancestors spirits happy you will have a good life If you do not keep your ancestors happy they turn into ghosts in your life This is a bad thing and they will ruin your life Taking care of the ancestors is done to keep everything in harmony By taking care of our ancestors ancestor worship we call the past into the present and make it clear that we are all on the same cosmological time There is universal energyAGRICULTUREIn our society today we have the concept of abundanceIn Chinese culture everything is defined by the success of a harvest probably how most of our ancestors operatedChinese culture is based on agriculture so nature plays heavily into Chinese cultureCHINESE CULTUREChinese culture is a monotheistic society the source of power is built into the entire organizationTeachingsthe classicsmusic mathematics divination prophecyLater all the teachings are put together and they go under the same classicsThese pieces of knowledge ancient wisdom defined in the Chinese bedrock Qin will continue to be the ancient pieces of wisdom no addons laterChinese philosophies arise organically and work out existing classicsThe Three Towers Mountains The Great Schools of Chinese PhilosophyThe 3 major towers great schools of Chinese philosophy are1Taoism2Confucianism3BuddhismEach school starts small and grows to become extremely important and powerfulEach school or philosophy appeared in the midst of ancient culture and took on importance given by the ancient culture It is a culture of profound conservatism The great schools of Chinese philosophy are referred to as The Schools of the 100 Sages and were organized by 600 BCEWe only study two of these schools Taoism ConfucianismTaoism and Confucianism get along very well and can work together because they do not really address the same ideas of the world cosmologyTaoism the way is concentrated on naturetakes the idea of a forcenature and makes a school out of itConfucianism is concentrated entirely on social order human orderAlready 100 years before Confucianism was born there was a society of social order that chooses a western hand kingDesired political methodsocial orderA person can follow both Taoism and Confucianism because they are compatibleThis is the whole idea behind the method of the 3 mountainsMargas the Taoists deal with the physical the Confucianists deal with the mental and the Buddhists deal with the path of worshipTo an extent you can be part of all schoolsConfucianism becomes the most important of the 3 schools because it addresses social orderIt is greatly respected as it is based on Chinese history takes concrete examples inChinese history and makes order a school from themConfucianism stresses that double happiness is the basis of human lifethe human cannot be happy by itself You cannot have compassion without others Good heartedness means nothing unless there is another heart to feel itThe Chinese example is extremely concrete physicalcompassion means nothing unless there is a person to receive the kindness and goodheartednessThe basic model of Confucianism includes another person who can receive the kindness Thus the basis of organization is topdownBy the year 211 BCE the Chinese emperor had made Confucianism the official philosophy of society schools civil serviceThe entire educated elite in China studied Confucianism and were Confucianism experts
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