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Chinese Religious Beliefs

Religion is a set of beliefs and practices that are highly valued or scared in a society. The different regions of China gave rise to a number of religious beliefs and practices. Chinese religious beliefs started between 50,000 and 1000,000 years ago. The concept of Ancient religious belief is on the concept of an afterlife –the concept of soul. Worship of nature forms the basis of their religious beliefs.

The Chinese worship many gods, spirits, Earth and ancestors. Worship of gods and spirits is known as'Ti' which means 'Diety above' or ‘The lord on high'. The spirit god

represents specific mountains, steams and stars in the sky. The two gods of the earth were the ‘God of the soil' and ‘Sovereign Earth'. They were subject to ‘Ti'. Chinese worshipped their ancestors. They believed that their ancestors act as a mediator between the gods and humanity. Nobles in Chinese are regarded as ancestors and they became the object of worship. Worship of ancestors is not on individual prosperity but for the good of the entire society.

The priests act as a communicator between heaven and earth. They perform the ceremonies of sacrifice to gods. They read the prayers to conduct sacrifice or funerals. An ‘Augar' in Chinese religion also act as intermediary in ancient religion. He asked questions of the gods on behalf of the humans. The questions generally concerns about future harvest and battles. He makes use of various methods like oracle bones to find the answer.

With the change of time, the worship of gods in ancient religion were carried by three Doctrines-Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. These Doctrines became an important part in ancient religious culture. The idea of ‘Confucianism' is base on the concept of a man named ‘Confucius'. The religious teaching includes keeping sense of honor, morality, politeness and social roles. The teaching creates a good impact into the minds of the people and forms the basis in politics and religion.

The concept of ‘Taoism' began in the early stage of religious development. Literary it means the ‘the path' or ‘the way'. The main religious belief is base on nature as a source of all things. It teaches that man should not try to change nature and do something against nature. A follower of Tao should avoid making plans like building of a house or damming of a river. They were against the teachings of Confucianism. They base their belief on magic and alchemy and belong to the educated elite group.

‘Siddhartha Gautana' founded ‘Buddhism'. The religious belief of Buddhism has a close resemblance with ‘Taoism'. The basic teaching of the religion is to throw off self-interest. It teaches people that through meditation and right living, a person can attain Nirvana or absence of suffering. The teaching of Buddhism gave the Chinese people anew perspective into their lives. It became a popular religion in China and practiced even today.

The Chinese Ancient religious belief is base on Supernatural beliefs and doctrines. Even today, the worship of Heaven and Earth continue in Chinese religion. The three religious philosophies have a great influence in the lives of the people.

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