[44], According to Zhou Youguang, Confucianism's name in Chinese, basically 儒 rú, originally referred to shamanic methods of holding rites and existed before Confucius' times, but with Confucius it came to mean devotion to propagating such teachings to bring civilisation to the people. According to demographic analyses, approximately 13% of the population of China claims a loose affiliation with Taoist practices, while self-proclaimed "Taoists" (a title traditionally attributed only to the daoshi, i.e. [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. China religion can be a mysterious topic, but it doesn’t have to be! [205], In Chinese religion, Tian is both transcendent and immanent,[206] inherent in the multiple phenomena of nature (polytheism or cosmotheism, yǔzhòu shénlùn 宇宙神论). Much has been written about Buddhism's conversation with Confucianism and Daoism since its arrival in China by the first century c.e. A Muslim, Yeheidie'erding, led the construction project of the Yuan capital of Khanbaliq, in present-day Beijing.[374]. [94], The radical policy relaxed considerably in the late 1970s. The annual worship of the god Cáncóng of the ancient state of Shu, for instance, was resumed at a ceremonial complex near the Sanxingdui archaeological site in Sichuan. [54] The difference rests upon the fact that the Yellow Emperor was no longer an exclusive ancestor of some royal lineage, but rather a more universal archetype of the human being. [224], The economic dimension of Chinese folk religion is also important. The emperor was considered the supreme shaman, intermediating between the three realms of heaven, earth and humanity. Confucianism: Societal Order and Harmony. Since the earliest times, Chinese family religious leanings and beliefs always depended on family values and cultural practices. With the rise of Confucian orthodoxy in the Han period (206 BCE–220 CE), shamanic traditions found an institutionalised and intellectualised form within the esoteric philosophical discourse of Taoism. 民俗宗教 mínsú zōngjiào), or "Chinese ethnic religion" (i.e. [74], In the Tang dynasty (618–907) the concept of "Tian" became more common at the expense of "Di", continuing a tendency that started in the Han dynasty. According to the scholar Stephan Feuchtwang, rites are conceived as "what makes the invisible visible", making possible for humans to cultivate the underlying order of nature. [363][364] In the 2010s the scholarly estimate was of approximately 30 million Christians, of whom less than 4 million were Catholics. The religion of the Shang was based on the worship of ancestors and god-kings, who survived as unseen divine forces after death. A thing or being is "spiritual"—the third sense of shen—when it inspires awe or wonder. [226], This religious economy already played a role in periods of imperial China, plays a significant role in modern Taiwan, and is seen as a driving force in the rapid economic development in parts of rural China, especially the southern and eastern coasts.[227]. However, along with the economic and social reforms since the late 1970s, folk religion has revived throughout China, even though the proportions of folk religious believers and practitioners remain substantially smaller than in Taiwan. The scholar Xinzhong Yao argues that the term "Chinese religion", therefore, does not imply that there is only one religious system, but that the "different ways of believing and practicing... are rooted in and can be defined by culturally common themes and features", and that "different religious streams and strands have formed a culturally unitary single tradition" in which basic concepts and practices are related. Counting the number of religious people anywhere is hard; counting them in China is even harder. Chinese civilization has historically long been a cradle and host to a variety of the most enduring religio-philosophical traditions of the world. The Qing made their laws more severely patriarchal than any previous dynasty, and Buddhism and Taoism were downgraded. Confucianism, for this new generation of scholars, became a "true religion" that offered "immanent transcendence". Chinese folk religion is one of the labels used to describe the collection of ethnic religious traditions which have historically comprised the predominant belief system in China and among Han Chinese ethnic groups up to the present day. Buddhist followers are mainly in the eastern provinces of China. The revival of Chinese Buddhism in the 21st century has also seen the development of the Humanistic Buddhist movement, reintroduced from Taiwan and Chinese overseas communities, with organisations such as the Cíjì (慈济), which has been working in mainland China since 1991[310] and has opened its mainland headquarters in the 2010s in Suzhou. [365] Demographic analyses usually find an average 2–3% of the population of China declaring a Christian affiliation. (December 21, 2020). They continue to live in the lineage which they begot, and are cultivated as models and exemplars by their descendants. Orientation Such practitioners include not only formally ordained monks and nuns, but also the followers of Buddhist-inclined lay sects, which in some areas had a more immediate impact as carriers of Buddhist ideas than the mainstream saṅgha. Western scholarship generally accepted this understanding. Hinduism (印度教 Yìndùjiào) entered China around the same time as Buddhism, generally imported by Indian merchants, from different routes. [200], By the Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE) the various sources of Taoism coalesced into a coherent tradition of religious organisations and orders of ritualists. [23] Cultures in other parts of the world have also conceived these stars or constellations as symbols of the origin of things, the supreme godhead, divinity and royal power. China has the world’s largest Buddhist population, with an estimated 185–250 million practitioners, according to Freedom House. Didier has studied the parallels that the Yellow Emperor's mythology has in other cultures, deducing a plausible ancient origin of the myth in Siberia or in north Asia. [211] If these spirits are neglected or abandoned, or were not treated with death rituals if they were humans, they become hungry and are trapped in places where they met their death, becoming dangerous for living beings and requiring exorcism. Taoism, both in registered and unregistered forms, has experienced a strong development since the 1990s, and dominates the religious life of coastal provinces.[294]. Officially, The People’s Republic of China is an Atheist state, however, many Chinese people are religious. [335]:236 Many of the deities are original Manchu kins' ancestors, and people with the same surname are viewed as being generated by the same god. The gods (shen Chinese: 神; "growth", "beings that give birth" ) are interwoven energies or principles that generate phenomena which reveal or reproduce the way of Heaven, that is to say the order (li) of the Greatnine(Tian). [347] It is a polytheistic-monistic and shamanic religion centered on the creator god usually expressed as Buluotuo, the mythical primordial ancestor of the Zhuang. The expansion of Buddhism reached its peak during the Tang dynasty, in the 9th century, when Buddhist monasteries had become very rich and powerful. Buddhist saints—revered masters or miracle workers—sometimes became objects of worship, their mortuary stŪpas or mummified bodies attracting large numbers of pilgrims praying for blessings and protection. [177], While Confucian theology emphasises the need to realise the starry order of the Heaven in human society, Taoist theology emphasises the Tao 道 ("Way"), which in one word denotes both the source and its spontaneous arising in nature. [203] In Taoist theology, the God of Heaven is discussed as the Jade Purity (玉清 Yùqīng), the "Heavenly Honourable of the First Beginning" (元始天尊 Yuánshǐ Tiānzūn), the central of the Three Pure Ones—who represent the centre of the universe and its two modalities of manifestation. 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. 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. Creation is therefore a continuous ordering; it is not a creation ex nihilo. It became very popular among Chinese of all walks of life; admired by commoners, and sponsored by emperors in certain dynasties. Along the southeastern coast, Taoism reportedly dominates the ritual activity of popular religion, both in registered and unregistered forms (Zhengyi Taoism and unrecognised fashi orders). This era, sometimes considered a Golden Age of Islam in China, also saw Nanjing become an important center of Islamic study. [55] Besides these developments of common Chinese and Confucian state religion, the latter Han dynasty was characterised by new religious phenomena: the emergence of Taoism outside state orthodoxy, the rise of indigenous millenarian religious movements, and the introduction of the foreign religion of Buddhism. This was also the case in the Buddhist context, with many monasteries' names containing this element. At least one prominent pastor who protested was arrested on charges of misusing church funds. Buddhism was introduced into China by its western neighbouring populations during the Han dynasty, traditionally in the 1st century. [307]:68, 70–73, 167–168 Throughout the Tang period, Taoism itself developed elements drawn from Buddhism, including monasticism, vegetarianism, abstention from alcohol, and the doctrine of emptiness. [311] The cult of Genghis is also shared by the Han, claiming his spirit as the founding principle of the Yuan dynasty.[340]:23. Delegations from the Japanese Soka Gakkai and the Chinese government and intellectual class have made visits to each other, so that the society has been called an "intimate friend of the Chinese government". And the word “exactly” makes it almost impossible to answer. Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. At the end of the Ming dynasty in the 16th century, Jesuits arrived in Beijing via Guangzhou. Christianity and Islam arrived in China in the 7th century. 民间信仰 Chinese Folk Religion Since the late Qing Dynasty Chinese folk religion has blamed for a host of the country’s woes, from being a source of China’s “century of humiliation” to hindering the nation from becoming a glorious communist utopia. [378]:125–127 It is recorded that in 758 there were three Brahminic temples in Guangzhou, with resident brahmins, and Hindu temples in Quanzhou. 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). During this period, the gods of Sogdian Zoroastrianism were assimilated into the Chinese folk religion; Zoroastrian currents of the Chinese folk religion were increasingly practised by the Chinese and survived until the 1940s. Having arrived through trade links with Persia during the Tang … [274] The scholar Joseph Adler concludes that Confucianism is not so much a religion in the Western sense, but rather "a non-theistic, diffused religious tradition", and that Tian is not so much a personal God but rather "an impersonal absolute, like dao and Brahman". This duality of guishen animates all beings, whether rocks, trees, and planets, or animals and human beings. In the same years, about 40 million Chinese said they believed in Jesus Christ or had attended Christian meetings, but did not identify themselves with the Christian religion. Since 1978, the Constitution of the People's Republic of China guarantees "freedom of religion". According to Law (2005), in his study about the relationship between the revival of folk religion and the reconstruction of patriarchal civilisation: Yang defined it as an "embedded capitalism", which preserves local identity and autonomy, and an "ethical capitalism" in which the drive for individual accumulation of money is tempered by religious and kinship ethics of generosity that foster the sharing and investment of wealth in the construction of civil society. people in general: some folk will do anything for money an old folks' home. Though the soteriological movement included improper and possibly reprehensive collective behavior, it was not crushed by the government. This hierarchy proceeds up to the gods of the cosmos, the Earth and Heaven itself. Originally seen as a kind of "foreign Taoism", Buddhism's scriptures were translated into Chinese using the Taoist vocabulary. 鬼法界, 鬼界 is "the realm of hungry ghosts". Islam has been practiced in Chinese society for 1,400 years. [338]:60–61, Various gods (dab or neeb, the latter defining those who work with shamans) enliven the world. [234] Taoist traditions emphasise living in harmony with the Tao (also romanised as Dao). The royal ancestors were called di (帝), "deities", and the utmost progenitor was Shangdi (上帝 "Highest Deity"). He argues that the Jesuit missionaries of the 16th century selected Confucius from many possible sages to serve as the counterpart to Christ or Muhammad in order to meet European religion categories. [277] As defined by Stephan Feuchtwang, Heaven is thought to have an ordering law which preserves the world, which has to be followed by humanity by means of a "middle way" between yin and yang forces; social harmony or morality is identified as patriarchy, which is the worship of ancestors and progenitors in the male line, in ancestral shrines.[200]. For this reason they have at times been characterized as "folk Buddhist.". Folk (or popular) religion negotiates the relationship of the individual, the family, and the local community with the spirit world by means of beliefs and practices that are transmitted outside the canonical scriptural traditions of China. Persecution of Chinese folk religion, however, only intensified; regarded as “feudal superstition,” halls, shrines, statues, and temples across China were either dismantled or repurposed as part of the CCP’s efforts to radically reorganize Chinese society. ... Chinese traditional religion, or Chinese folk religion is the complete group of ethnic spiritualities and religions practiced in China. [1][10] Though Hui Muslims are the most numerous group,[11] the greatest concentration of Muslims is in Xinjiang, with a significant Uyghur population. [103], In 2012 Xi Jinping was elected as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. Ursa Major)" (黄神北斗 Huángshén Běidǒu), other than by names inherited from the previous tradition. The second phase of Zoroastrianism in China was in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–960), and saw the development of an indigenous Chinese Zoroastrianism that lasted until modern times. The Baháʼí Faith (巴哈伊信仰 Bāhāyī xìnyǎng, 巴哈伊教 Bāhāyījiào, or, in old translations, 大同教 Dàtóngjiào) has had a presence in China[353] since the 19th century. Many scholars now view folk religion in a positive light. [241] It is the force establishing responsive communication between yin and yang, and is the power of gods, masters of building and healing, rites and sages. [19], Despite this great diversity, all experiences of Chinese religion have a common theological core that may be summarised in four cosmological and moral concepts:[238] Tian (天), Heaven, the "transcendently immanent" source of moral meaning; qi (气), the breath or energy–matter that animates the universe; jingzu (敬祖), the veneration of ancestors; and bao ying (报应), moral reciprocity; together with two traditional concepts of fate and meaning:[239] ming yun (命运), the personal destiny or burgeoning; and yuan fen (缘分), "fateful coincidence",[240] good and bad chances and potential relationships. Manchu folk religion is the ethnic religion practised by most of the Manchu people, the major of the Tungusic peoples, in China. According to Yiyi Lu, discussing the reconstruction of Chinese civil society:[251], In December 2015, the Chinese Folk Temples' Management Association was formally established with the approval of the government of China and under the aegis of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. In China, the vast following of a folk goddess of the sea illustrates the remarkable rebirth of local popular religion since the Cultural Revolution. [277] Confucianism conciliates both the inner and outer polarities of spiritual cultivation, that is to say self-cultivation and world redemption, synthesised in the ideal of "sageliness within and kingliness without". Chinese Civilization has long hosted a variety of religions of the world. The Christian community was more likely than other religions to have members belonging to the ethnic minorities. For example, the highest goddess in Chinese folk religion. [218] With an understanding of religion as teaching and education, the Chinese have a staunch confidence in the human capacity of transformation and perfection, enlightenment or immortality. The universal religion of the Han, which became connected at an early time with the proto-Taoist Huang–Lao movement, was focused on the idea of the incarnation of God as the Yellow Emperor, the central one of the "Five Forms of the Highest Deity" (五方上帝 Wǔfāng Shàngdì). The Jesuits followed a policy of adaptation of Catholicism to traditional Chinese religious practices, especially ancestor worship. [20], The Zhou dynasty, which overthrew the Shang, was more rooted in an agricultural worldview, and they emphasised a more universal idea of Tian (天 "Heaven"). 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. The government of China protects and valorises the indigenous religions of minority ethnicities as the foundations of their culture and identity.[321]. [319] Soka Gakkai members in China are organised in the form of the house church, as they "meet quietly in small groups in the homes of other members", with little interference from the government. The predominant religions in Northeast China (including the provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang, historically also known as Manchuria) are Chinese folk religions led by local shamans. [388]:149, The first phase of Zoroastrianism in China started in the Wei and Jin dynasties of the Northern and Southern dynasties' period (220–589), when Sogdian Zoroastrians advanced into China. Fujian Province. Among them, the most revered are the water god Dragon King (Zaj Laug), the Thunder God (Xob), the gods of life and death (Ntxwj Nyug and Nyuj Vaj Tuam Teem), Lady Sun (Nkauj Hnub) and Lord Moon (Nraug Hli), and various deified human ancestors.[338]:60–62. [79], In the 16th century, the Jesuit China missions played a significant role in opening dialogue between China and the West. [267], Guy Alitto points out that there was "literally no equivalent for the Western (and later worldwide) concept of 'Confucianism' in traditional Chinese discourse". In this context, Christianity not only represents a small proportion of the population, but its adherents are still seen by the majority who observe traditional rituals as followers of a foreign religion that sets them apart from the body of society. These may be deities of the natural environment or ancestral principles of human groups, concepts of civility, culture heroes, many of whom feature in Chinese mythology and history. These are Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. Since the 2000s, Confucianism has been embraced as a religious identity by a large numbers of intellectuals and students in China. Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief. [379], Manichaeism (摩尼教 Móníjiào or 明教 Míngjiào, "bright transmission") was introduced in China together with Christianity in the 7th century, by land from Central Asia and by sea through south-eastern ports. The government and Chinese intellectuals tend to associate Christianity with subversive Western values, and many churches have been closed or destroyed. The proliferation of foreign religions in the Tang, especially Buddhist sects, entailed that each of them conceived their own ideal "Heaven". The government of China officially espouses state atheism,[3] but in reality most of Chinese citizens (including Communist Party members) practice some kind of Chinese folk religion, especially Confucianism. Some scholars also consider the reconstruction of lineage churches and their ancestral temples, as well as of cults and temples of natural gods and national heroes within broader Chinese traditional religion, as part of the renewal of Confucianism. There are at least 800,000,000 followers of Chinese folk religion worldwide (estimate). In this effort, the libraries of the Buddhist monasteries were destroyed, almost completely in the Yangtze River Delta. [303] Shamanism is viewed by many scholars as the foundation for the emergence of civilisation, and the shaman as "teacher and spirit" of peoples. Reported in, Data from the Chinese Spiritual Life Survey (CSLS) 2010 for Chinese ancestorists, and from the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) 2009 for Christians. Tibet has been an independent country throughout the historical period and since time immemorial according to Tibetans' own myth-based sense of…, Before the twentieth century, a dichotomy prevailed between cultivated music, by educated, formally trained musicians and composers, and folk music,…, Hakka [388]:148–149 Some scholars provide evidences that would attest the existence of Zoroastrianism, or broader Iranian religion, in China, as early as the 2nd and 1st century BCE. Religion today is growing in diversity and openness to the worldwide context. licensed Taoists) were involved in local religion in the central and northern provinces of China, and discusses various types of folk ritual specialists including: the. [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". [378]:127 Various Chinese Buddhist monks dedicated themselves to the study of Hindu scriptures, thought and practice. The strong association of Chinese Buddhism with concepts of the afterlife combined with the saṅgha's separateness to provide Buddhist monks and nuns with unique qualifications as providers of ritual services for the dead. The forms … [287] In 2009, Zhou Beichen founded another institution which inherits the idea of Kang Youwei's Confucian Church, the Holy Hall of Confucius (孔圣堂 Kǒngshèngtáng) in Shenzhen, affiliated with the Federation of Confucian Culture of Qufu City. Christians in China established the first clinics and hospitals practising modern medicine,[356] and provided the first modern training for nurses. ." Chinese popular or Folk Religion Is The Biggest Religion In China. Old Martial Art Strengthens Social Cohesion in Chinese Rural Areas", "Heaven, Earth, Sovereign, Ancestors, Masters: Some Remarks on the Politico-Religious in China Today", "Cultural Dynamics in China: Today and in 2020", "Antagonistic Discourses on Shamanic Folklore in Modern China", "Shamanistic Studies in China: A Preliminary Survey of the Last Decade", "The growth of a Taiwanese Buddhist association in China: Soft power and institutional learning", "Research Review of Bai Esoteric Buddhist Azhali Religion Since the 20th Century", "Even as International Pressure Mounts, China Ramps up Religious Persecution", "China cracks down on religion, crosses burned at Christian churches, Xi Jinping photos installed - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)", "Hong Kong Christians Draw New Scrutiny From Mainland", "Lord Krishna's popularity rising in Communist China", "Manichaean and (Nestorian) Christian Remains in Zayton (Quanzhou, South China)", "Map: These are the world's least religious countries", 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195188356.001.0001, "Carrying the Confucian Torch to the Masses: The Challenge of Structuring the Confucian Revival in the People's Republic of China", "Understanding Di and Tian: Deity and Heaven from Shang to Tang Dynasties", "Conceptualizations of "Popular Religion" in Recent Research in the People's Republic of China", "Confucius and the Mediums: Is There a "Popular Confucianism"? 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