The Abrahamic religions that came from the Near East, for example, focus on a single omnipotent deity, whereas the folk religions of China attribute independent power to multiple deities, without attributing to the lofty Jade Emperor the omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence attributed to the Abrahamic supreme deity. In China, Buddhism (佛教 Fójiào) is represented by a large number of people following the Mahayana, divided between two different cultural traditions, namely the schools of Chinese Buddhism followed by the Han Chinese, and the schools of Tibetan Buddhism followed by Tibetans and Mongols, but also by minorities of Han. [86]:9 Not only were traditions that had been interrupted for decades resumed, but ceremonies forgotten for centuries were reinvented. An additional 0.85% of the population responded that they were "Taoists". They are local gods and deified ancestors of the Bai nation. Immigration increased during the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), when hundreds of thousands of Muslims were relocated throughout China for their administrative skills. [252], China has a long history of sectarian traditions, called "salvationist religions" (救度宗教 jiùdù zōngjiào) by some scholars, which are characterised by a concern for salvation (moral fulfillment) of the person and the society, having a soteriological and eschatological character. One major area of Buddhist influence on Chinese folk religion concerns conceptions of the afterlife. Chinese folk religious temples and kinship ancestral shrines may, on peculiar occasions, choose Confucian liturgy (called 儒 rú or 正统 zhèngtǒng, "orthoprax") led by Confucian ritual masters (礼生 lǐshēng) to worship the gods, instead of Taoist or popular ritual. Religions & Beliefs in China China has been a multi-religion country since the ancient times. [212], There was no term that corresponded to "religion" in Classical Chinese. Today, Tibetan Buddhism is the dominant religion in Tibet, among Tibetans in Qinghai and other provinces, and has a historical and significant presence in Inner Mongolia (where its traditional name is Burkhany Shashin, "Buddha's religion", or Shira-in Shashin, the "Yellow religion"—黄教 Huángjiào in Chinese[note 16]). While the role of these two systems of ideas and values in Chinese culture cannot be denied, it must be kept in mind that the religious attitudes of the vast majority of the Chinese people never were directly derived from Confucianism or Daoism, but rather from folk religion. Counting the number of religious people anywhere is hard; counting them in China is even harder. A very popular deity in modern Chinese folk religion, the Living Buddha Jigong (Jigong Huofo), originated in stories surrounding an unconventional Buddhist monk who lived in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, around the turn of the thirteenth century. As of 2010[162] there are 843,000 Christians in Hong Kong (11.8% of the total population). [69], Buddhism was introduced during the latter Han dynasty, and first mentioned in 65 CE. Between 143 and 198, starting with the grandfather Zhang Daoling and culminating with Zhang Lu, the Zhang lineage had been organising the territory into dioceses or parishes, establishing a Taoist theocracy, the early Celestial Masters' Church (in Chinese variously called 五斗米道 Wǔdǒumǐdào, "Way of the Five Pecks of Rice", and later 天师道 Tiānshīdào, "Way of the Celestial Masters", or 正一道 Zhèngyīdào, "Way of the Orthodox Unity"). However, until now there has been no quantitative study that provides an overall picture of Chinese folk‐religion practices. Ricci was welcomed at the imperial court and introduced Western learning into China. [313], The first Buddhist temple in Yunnan province, the Wabajie Temple in Xishuangbanna, was erected in 615. The Chinese Taoist Association had already 20.000 registered sanju daoshi in the mid-1990s,[295] while the total number of Zhengyi priests including the unregistered ones was estimated at 200.000 in the same years. [294] Taoist schools traditionally feature reverence for Laozi, immortals or ancestors, along with a variety of rituals for divination and exorcism, and techniques for achieving ecstasy, longevity or immortality. A 巫 wū (shaman) of the Supreme Peace named Zhang Xiu was known to have led a group of followers from Shu into the uprising of the year 184. Today, the Kaifeng Jewish community is functionally extinct. It has no leadership, headquarters, founder, or denominations. Christianity began to take root in a significant way in the late imperial period, during the Qing dynasty, and although it has remained a minority religion in China, it influenced late imperial history. In the 1920s, the provinces of Qinghai, Gansu and Ningxia came under the control of Muslim warlords known as the "Ma clique", who served as generals in the National Revolutionary Army. Much has been written about Buddhism's conversation with Confucianism and Daoism since its arrival in China by the first century c.e. [234] Taoist traditions emphasise living in harmony with the Tao (also romanised as Dao). Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1994. Mediatory individuals such as shamans communicated prayers, sacrifices or offerings directly to the spiritual world, a heritage that survives in some modern forms of Chinese religion. The government of China protects and valorises the indigenous religions of minority ethnicities as the foundations of their culture and identity.[321]. A further type of folk religious movements, possibly overlapping with the "secret sects", are the martial sects. In earlier China, Taoists were thought of as hermits or ascetics who did not participate in political life. Aobaoes (敖包 áobāo) are sacrificial altars of the shape of mounds that are traditionally used for worship by Mongols and related ethnic groups. Like many contemporaries, Confucius saw ritual practices as efficacious ways to access Tian, but he thought that the crucial knot was the state of meditation that participants enter prior to engage in the ritual acts. "The belief in Tian (Heaven) as the great ancestral spirit differed from the Judeo-Christian, and later Islamic belief in a creator God". Chinese civilization has historically long been a cradle and host to a variety of the most enduring religio-philosophical traditions of the world. [240], In Chinese religion yin and yang constitute the polarity that describes the order of the universe,[203] held in balance by the interaction of principles of growth or expansion (shen) and principles of waning or contraction (gui),[6] with act (yang) usually preferred over receptiveness (yin). Across China, Han religion has even adopted deities from Tibetan folk religion, especially wealth gods. The "dongba" ("eastern ba") are masters of the culture, literature and the script of the Nakhi. Manichaean properties were confiscated, the temples were destroyed, the scriptures were burnt and the clergy was laicised, or killed, as was the case of seventy nuns who were executed at the Tang capital Chang'an. [94], The radical policy relaxed considerably in the late 1970s. Yin and yang are the invisible and the visible, the receptive and the active, the unshaped and the shaped; they characterise the yearly cycle (winter and summer), the landscape (shady and bright), the sexes (female and male), and even sociopolitical history (disorder and order). [329] Originally, bon was the title of the shamans of the Tibetan indigenous religion. "Tian", besides, became more associated to its meaning of "Heaven" as a paradise or the hierarchy of physical skies. The government condemned religious organisations, labeling them as superstitious. [58] Han theology focalised on the Yellow Emperor, a culture hero and creator of civility, who, according to a definition in apocryphal texts related to the Hétú 河圖, "proceeds from the essence of the Yellow God of the Northern Dipper", is born to "a daughter of a chthonic deity", and as such he is "a cosmic product of the conflation of Heaven and Earth". In the process, it contributed a significant number of the pieces that make up the rich mosaic of religious life in Chinese communities. Towards the Country! Yü, Chün-fang. For example, over 30 percent of Han Chinese people follow Shenism, or Chinese folk religion. Zhou kings declared that their victory over the Shang was because they were virtuous and loved their people, while the Shang were tyrants and thus were deprived of power by Tian. In the Christian-inspired Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, official policies pursued the elimination of Chinese religions to substitute them with forms of Christianity. [338]:59, The Miao believe in a supreme universal God, Saub, who may be defined a deus otiosus who created reality and left it to develop according to its ways, but nonetheless may be appealed in times of need. Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. [208] Shen and ancestors (祖 zǔ) are agents who generate phenomena which reveal or reproduce the order of Heaven. Chinese folk religion (Chinese popular religion or traditional Chinese religion) or Han folk religion or Shenism is the religious tradition of the Han Chinese, including veneration of forces of nature and ancestors, exorcism of harmful forces, and a belief in the rational order of nature which can be influenced by human beings and their rulers as well as spirits and gods. Chinese Catholics resisted the new government's move towards state control and independence from the Vatican. [104] The government's project also involved restricting Christian churches, which resulted in some removals of crosses from steeples and churches' demolition. [253], Many redemptive religions of the 20th and 21st century aspire to embody and reform Chinese tradition in the face of Western modernism and materialism. [270], Broadly speaking, however, scholars agree that Confucianism may be also defined as an ethico-political system, developed from the teachings of the philosopher Confucius (551–479 BCE). It is both a teaching and a set of ritual practices. [42] Confucius amended and recodified the classical books inherited from the Xia-Shang-Zhou dynasties, and composed the Spring and Autumn Annals. It may also be called "Manchu Shamanism" (满族萨满教 Mǎnzú sàmǎnjiào) by virtue of the word "shaman" being originally from Tungusic šamán ("man of knowledge"),[335]:235 later applied by Western scholars to similar religious practices in other cultures. [85] Between 1898 and 1904 the imperial government issued a measure to "build schools with temple property" (庙产兴学 miàochǎn xīngxué). . Also the Hong Kong Confucian Academy, one of the direct heirs of Kang Youwei's Confucian Church, has expanded its activities to the mainland, with the construction of statues of Confucius, the establishment of Confucian hospitals, the restoration of temples and other activities. [122] It found that the proportion of male believers was higher than the average among folk religious people, Taoists, and Catholics, while it was lower than the average among Protestants. [1][10] Though Hui Muslims are the most numerous group,[11] the greatest concentration of Muslims is in Xinjiang, with a significant Uyghur population. China hosted religious meetings and conferences including the first World Buddhist Forum in 2006 and the subsequent World Buddhist Forums, a number of international Taoist meetings and local conferences on folk religions. [62] When Buddhism had become an established religion it began to compete with Chinese indigenous religion and Taoist movements, deprecatorily designated as Ways of Demons (鬼道 Guǐdào) in Buddhist polemical literature. Rituals may be performed by government officials, family elders, popular ritual masters and Taoists, the latter cultivating local gods to centre the forces of the universe upon a particular locality. [43], The Qin (221–206 BCE), and especially Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE), inherited the philosophical developments of the Warring States period molding them into a universalistic philosophy, cosmology and religion. As bodhisattvas, buddhas, and eminent monks became deities within Chinese folk religion, they were also removed from the doctrinal control of the saṄgha and often took on novel features. Later philosophers such as Xun Zi, Fan Zhen, Han Fei, Zhang Zai, and Wang Fuzhi also criticised religious practices prevalent during their times. [373], Muslims, mainly Arabs, travelled to China to trade. So the unborn venerated is mother is cross-connected to the fire. [156], Goossaert talks of this distinction, although recognising it as an oversimplification, between a "Taoist south" and a "village-religion/Confucian centre-north",[149]:47 with the northern context also characterised by important orders of "folk Taoist" ritual masters, one order being that of the 阴阳生}} yīnyángshēng,[149]:86[157] and sectarian traditions,[149]:92 and also by a low influence of Buddhism and official Taoism.[149]:90. Encyclopedia of Buddhism. [174] Because "religion" refers to the bond between the human and the divine, there is always a danger that this bond be broken. In spite of such attempts at symbolic hegemony, Buddhism never came to dominate Chinese folk religion, either symbolically or institutionally. They also opposed the opium trade[358] and brought treatment to many who were addicted. [267], Guy Alitto points out that there was "literally no equivalent for the Western (and later worldwide) concept of 'Confucianism' in traditional Chinese discourse". [378]:133–134 According to the Tamil text Śaivāgama of Pashupata Shaivism, two of the eighteen siddha of southern Shaktism, Bogar and Pulipani, were ethnically Chinese. [318] This society has engaged in missionary efforts in China partially aided by the good relationship it has interlaced with the Chinese government. [262], Another category that has been sometimes confused with that of the folk salvationist movements by scholars is that of the secret societies (會道門 huìdàomén, 祕密社會 mìmì shèhuì, or 秘密結社 mìmì jiéshè). By the words of Stephan Feuchtwang, in Chinese cosmology "the universe creates itself out of a primary chaos of material energy" (hundun 混沌 and qi), organising as the polarity of yin and yang which characterises any thing and life. Their practices are focused on improving morality, body cultivation, and on the recitation of scriptures. [16], Ancient shamanism is especially connected to ancient Neolithic cultures such as the Hongshan culture. Dongba followers believe in a celestial shaman called Shi-lo-mi-wu, with little doubt the same as the Tibetan Shenrab Miwo. [346]:290, The reason of such strong identification of Yao religion with Taoism is that in Yao society every male adult is initiated as a Taoist. [329] This is in analogy with the names of the priests of the folk religions of other peoples related to the Tibetans,[331] such as the dong ba of the Nakhi or the bø of Mongolians and other Siberian peoples. ", Overmyer (2009, p. 73), says that from the late 19th to the 20th century few professional priests (i.e. The office of Director General of Shipping was consistently held by a Muslim. Religion today is growing in diversity and openness to the worldwide context. Besides the waning Zhou ritual system, what may be defined as "wild" (野 yě) traditions, or traditions "outside of the official system", developed as attempts to access the will of Tian. [215] Under the influence of Western rationalism and later Marxism, what most of the Chinese today mean as zōngjiào are "organised doctrines", that is "superstructures consisting of superstitions, dogmas, rituals and institutions". [222], The cults of gods and ancestors that in recent (originally Western) literature have been classified as "Chinese popular religion", traditionally neither have a common name nor are considered zōngjiào ("doctrines"). [125] The definition of "Taoist" is complicated by the fact that many folk sects of salvation and their members began to be registered as branches of the Taoist association in the 1990s. The most famous case of such subordination is the adoption of the powerful folk deity Guan Gong as a tutelary spirit of Buddhist shrines. 2008: a survey conducted in that year by Yu Tao of the, 2010: the Chinese Spiritual Life Survey directed by the, Four surveys conducted respectively in the years 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2011 as part of the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) of the, 2012-2014: analyses published in a study by Fenggang Yang and Anning Hu found that 55.5% of the adult population (15+) of China, or 578 million people in absolute numbers, believed and practised folk religions, including a 20% who practised ancestor veneration or communal worship of deities, and the rest who practised what Yang and Hu define "individual" folk religions like devotion to specific gods such as. Your role as the religion expert is to research and report… Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. In other words, ancestors are regarded as the equivalent of Heaven within human society,[184] and are therefore the means connecting back to Heaven as the "utmost ancestral father" (曾祖父 zēngzǔfù). [368]:29–31 Yanbian Koreans' Christianity has a patriarchal character; Korean churches are usually led by men, in contrast to Chinese churches that most often have female leadership. This religion was introduced to areas of present-day China during the 7 th century. Although the two types of priests, daoshi and fashi, have the same roles in Chinese society—in that they may marry and they perform rituals for communities' temples or private homes—Zhengyi daoshi emphasise their Taoist tradition, distinguished from the vernacular tradition of the fashi. These conceptions of folk religion began to change in Taiwan in the late 20th century and in mainland China in the 21st. [179] Defined as "the essential religion of the Chinese", ancestor worship is the means of memory and therefore of the cultural vitality of the entire Chinese civilisation. Facts about Chinese Religion 1: the combination. [262], There are two types of Taoists, following the distinction between the Quanzhen and Zhengyi traditions. [41] As the Zhou reign collapsed, traditional values were abandoned resulting in a period of moral decline. 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