Religion in China作者：不详 更新时间：2020-9-29 2:37:57
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Introduction of Buddhism
Buddhism was introduced to China from India around the first century AD, since the fourth century AD, it was widely spread and gradually became the most influential religion in China. Because of varied introduction time and channel as well as regional, historic and social backgrounds, Buddhism in China is divided into three branches, namely Chinese Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism and Pali Buddhism. At present, there are about 200,000 monks and nuns under these three branches. China has more than 13,000 Buddhist temples that are open to the public, 33 Buddhist colleges and nearly 50 types of Buddhist publications.
Buddhism Influence in China
The influence of Buddhism on Chinese culture is profound, not only in terms of religion, but also literature, art, traditional customs, etc.
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system, developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius. It is a complex system of moral, social, political and religious which had tremendous influence on the history and culture of East Asia.
Confucianism was founded by K'ung Fu Tzu (K'ung Fuzi), born in 551 BCE in the state of Lu (in Shandong Province today). In all his life, he wandered through many states of China, giving advice to their rulers. He accumulated a small band of students during this time. The last years of his life were spent back in Lu, where he devoted himself to teaching. The teachings of Confucius are contained in the Analects, a collection of his sayings as remembered by his students.
Confucianism in its broad sense embraces not only the immediate teaching of Confucius, but also the traditional rites and Confucian texts, which have been venerated as sacred heirlooms in all ages. Its main themes are as following:
Yi (义, Yì): In English, it means right conduct, morality, duty to one's neighbor and righteousness. Its opposite is Li (利, Lì), profit, gain, advantage in English. As Master Kong said: "The gentleman understands Yi. The mean man understands Li (利, Lì)."
Li（礼, Lǐ）: In English, it means ritual, propriety, good manners, politeness, ceremony and worship.
Shu (恕, Shù): In English, it means reciprocity, altruism, consideration for others, As Master Kong said: "What you don't want yourself, don't do to others".
Zhong (忠, zhōng): In English, it means doing one's best, conscientiousness and loyalty.
Xiao (孝, Xiào): In English, it means filial piety, to honor one's parents. [yao_page]
Taoism is a typically traditional religion in China with a history of more than 18 hundred years since the second century A.D. It advocates the worship of natural objects and ancestors as was practiced since time immemorial and had various factions in the history. It is difficult to calculate the exact number of Taoist believers because there are no formal ceremonies or specific regulations concerning the admission to Taoism. At present, there are more than 15 hundred Taoist temples in China with over 25 hundred male and female Taoists there.
Fangxian Tao was formed in about the 4th century BC, and was widely accepted by the upper-class society in today's Beijing, Hebei Province and Shandong Province, etc. Its aim was to get longevity and become immortal with the help of ghosts and gods. The immortal theory of Fangxian Tao became the basic belief in later Taoism, and its magic arts were later inherited and developed by Taoism. Fangxian Tao was combined with Huanglao school of thought afterwards.
Huanglao Tao is the mainstream of Huang (Yellow Emperor) and Lao (Lao Zi, a famous philosopher, whose masterpiece the Dao De Jing (Classic of the Way and Virtue) is wide-spread in China.) school of thought, and it is a combination of the philosophy in emperors' ruling, Wuxing (five elements: metal, wood, water, fire, earth) of Yin (negative) and Yang (positive), and the immortal theories. Although like Fangxian Tao, it had neither systematic doctrines nor formal religious organization, it was a crucial phase in the formation of Taoism, and served as the precursor of Taoism.
Taoism and Social Ethics
Taoist ethics is primarily linked with longevity. Since everyone is eager for longevity, Taoism takes this as a tool to bring up many requests to people. In fact, this is where Taoism is in common with other religions in attaining their goals through cherishing ideals, just like Elysium in Buddhism and Heaven in Christianity, etc.
Such kind of Taoist thought is the authentic Chinese ethics. In terms of the effect, to some extent Taoist theories have a positive influence on Chinese society. [yao_page]
Christianity was introduced to China in early 19th century and widely spread after 1840s. In 1950, the church called on its believers to shake off the vestige of foreign imperialist influence and uphold patriotism in order to achieve self-administration, self-supporting and self-propagation, which are the cardinal principle of Chinese Christianity. At present, there are about 16 million Christian believers, 18 seminaries or schools and nearly 50,000 churches or religious sites in China.
Christianity entered China
In the 19th century at the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Christianity took a dominant position in Europe and was entering China. The period from 1807 to 1842 was the time Christianity began its dissemination in China.
Although relatively recent comer, Christian missionaries adopted measures appreciated and easily accepted by Chinese. For example, they were more enthusiastic in participating in various social activities. They set up colleges and universities, hospitals and charity organizations. In this way, they received warmer welcome from Chinese people.
St. John's University
St. John's University in Shanghai was one of the most famous church universities. It started as St. John's College. In 1877, Samuel Joseph Schereschensky, bishop of American Episcopal Church, began to prepare the establishment of the college. In 1879, the college was formally opened. Christianity entered China.
At the beginning, in order to attract students and broaden its influence, the college charged no fees and offered free board and lodging as well as other daily necessities.
At the beginning, there were two departments, namely the department of the Chinese language and the department of theology. More departments were established later. In education, the university attached much importance to English study. English was one of the required courses and most courses were taught in English. Since the English levels of the graduates from the university were the best in China, they were welcomed by various enterprises. The original site of St. John's University is now the campus of East China University of Political Science and Law. [yao_page]
Islam was introduced to China in around the mid-seventh century A.D, and the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) witnessed the zenith of prosperity of Islam. There are nearly 18 million people from Hui, Uygur, Tartar, Kirgiz, Kazakh, Ozbek, Dongxiang, Sala and Baoan ethnic groups in China adhere to Islam, mostly belong to Sunnite Sect. Most of the Muslims in China live in compact communities in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Gansu, Qinghai and Yunnan Provinces; besides, some Muslims in small groups live in other provinces or cities in China. At present, there are more than 30 thousand mosques in China with over 40 thousand imams or ahungs.
Islamic Rites and Customs in China
Since Islam was introduced to China, especially since it was introduced to the hinterland, some rites and customs have been attached particular importance to and have developed significantly. Elements of Buddhism and Taoism as well as the Han culture were absorbed into Muslim rites and customs, which were particularly obvious on some festivals and wedding ceremonies. Due to the given surroundings, Islamic followers strictly abstain from eating pork and lard.
In the festival, Muslims gather at major mosques and other public places and have grand ceremonies and celebrations. They prepare livestock beforehand, the livestock should be healthy camels, oxen or sheep, and the choice depends on one's financial condition. The meat will be separated into three parts. One part is for the family itself, one for relatives and friends and the rest part for charity.
There are more than 30,000 mosques in China, among which the four greatest are: Huajuexiang Mosque in Shaanxi Province, Dongguan Masque in Qinghai Province, Nanguan Mosque in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Aitiga Mosque in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
The Nanguan Mosque is located in Yinchuan City with hundreds of years' history. On every Friday and the traditional festivals of Islam, thousands of Muslims gather here and attend religious activities. The Nanguan Mosque is not only an open place for religious activities but also a famous scenic spot.