Different geographical regions possess different religion, culture, government and have certain characteristics that set them apart from the rest. Such geographic areas are unique when it comes to their practices and norms. The following essay explores the defining characteristics of Central Asia and describes the religion of Central Asia about the Chinese.
The Chinese religion is one that is of great interest to a lot of people all over the world and not only the Chinese themselves. Some of the values embedded in the Chinese religion have been utilized in other countries that are non-Chinese this refers to those from the teachings of Confucianism and Buddhism. The Chinese religion is famous for its values of humanity and peace thus has been adopted by many.
Religion of the Chinese
The Chinese religion is composed of three different perspectives working together and in harmony. They are Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. One of the dominant factors that define the Chinese religion and make it different is its use of proverbs. There is a prominent use of proverbs in the Chinese religion and a lot about the values held by the religion can be learned by reading their proverbs. The father of Confucianism is Kong Qiu. Though Kong Qiu does not acknowledge his contributions to the field he was a major contributor to the field. Kong Qui, aimed at changing how the systems function and establishing a way or principles of social functioning that embraces peace and humanity.
Confucianism is split into three different meanings. The first has been described above in the view of Kong Qui. The second is whereby Confucianism began before the age of Kong Qui, and it refers to books that were written whose teachings are used in numerous learning institutions. Thirdly, Confucianism refers to an analysis of Kong Qui’s work that was done after his age. Therefore, the word Confucianism defines a broad range of a set of beliefs and practices.
Buddhism is another Chinese religion that is widely known all over the world. Buddhism is primarily known for its emphasis on meditation and achieving a state whereby one is at a higher level of enlightenment. It is also referred to as Fojiao that means the Buddha’s teaching. Fo represents Buddha while Fojiao means teaching.
Buddhism refers to all the things associated with the worship of Buddha including statues and the finances used to make the statues. Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism are in the same class of teachings. The teachings are Fojiao, which as mentioned above refers to the teachings of the Buddha . Rujiao that refers to Confucianism or teaching of scholars and Daojiao that is the instruction of the Dao.
One of the interesting things about the semantics of the teachings is that unlike Ru and Dao that have a semantic meaning in the Chinese language, Fo has no semantic meaning in the language and it merely represents a sound . According to the Buddhist’s, life takes up six different forms that are listed here. They are; gods, demigods, human beings, animals, hungry ghosts and hell beings. The gods have a life of immense pleasure, however, unlike the case in the Greek culture, they are mortals and usually die and are reborn into a different lower form of life. The hungry ghosts wander about searching for water and food but are unable to eat or drink. The hell beings undergo torture but are finally reborn.
The concept of karma originates from Buddhism. Karma means that the actions of oneself are the ones that determine the form one is reborn to. Good actions yield good consequences while evil actions yield bad results. Li Shiqian, a prominent scholar of the Chinese, defined the trinity between the three parts of the Chinese religion by the components of space. Daoism is the moon; Buddhism is the sun, and Confucianism is the five planets. In essence, he sought to establish that the Trinity works together, and they are all important. Without one, there would be no completeness in the religion. This is another interesting factor about the Chinese religion. Instead of operating as separate entities as they are, they work together.
Daoism came shortly after the age of Kong Qiu. By the time Daoism came up, Confucianism was not well established. The most prominent texts that emerged during the period of Daoism developing are Power and the Classic on its way. The writings were done by Lao Dan, who lived during the sixth century of the B.C.E. According to Daoism, imperfections result after something is already formed. Hence sinful nature is not attributed to the first living people .
The Chinese religion is attractive since it is composed of a trinity that works together. The trinity consists of Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism . Another interesting factor of the Chinese religion is their use of statues to represent the Buddha. The difference in the semantics of the Fo, Ru and Dao in Buddhism, where Fo merely represents a sound while Ru and Dao have to mean is of interest. It is surprising that the Chinese associate the three parts of their religion that are Daoism, Confucianism and Buddhism to the sun, the moon and the five planets.
The use of proverbs in the Chinese religion makes it an attractive subject of study. The belief in reincarnation in Buddhism gives the author considerable interest. The possibility that one is reborn into another life form after they die is shocking and makes one want to find out more about the concept. Another interesting concept that presents itself in that of karma. The idea that good actions result in real consequences and that the life form one is reborn into during reincarnation is determined by karma.
Lastly, it is interesting to discover that the Chinese have six different life forms that exist. The, demigods, human beings, gods, animals, hungry ghosts and hell beings. It is unusual that the gods, according to the Chinese culture are not immortal. A concept that contradicts most other religions.
Defining characteristics of China
One of the defining characteristics of China is its food. China has food customs that differ from most other customs in other parts of the world. For instance, the Chinese use chopsticks to eat their food. Chopsticks are two long thin bars that are made of mostly wood. The Chinese use them with great skill to eat all types of food no matter how small or big. They use them to eat rice as well as to pick up grapes. This is unlike many other parts of the world where spoons are used to eat food. The only culture that also uses chopsticks is the Koreans who are distant relatives of the Chinese. It is very difficult for people who do not have a Chinese origin to learn to use chopsticks.
Another reason the Chinese food customs are a defining characteristic of their culture is that in China, meat is served first with no bread, and they eat that. Later, they are served with bowls of rice. In many parts of the world, the rice and meat is served at the same time. Also, the Chinese are known to eat a broad range of foods some that are deemed awkward by the rest of the world, for example; the Chinese eat snakes which is very rare in other countries and cultures. The Chinese usually eat while seated at tables, but since they usually use chopsticks and do not touch the food with their hands, they do not use napkins or table cloths.
The major food in China is rice. The Chinese also make wine from the rice that is almost like that one made from grapes. The making of wine from rice is a unique custom to China. Chinese food is served at a banquet set up whereby a large plate is brought with the food and the individual members having the meal can transfer the food to their plates as they eat.
The Chinese religion is one of the unique and different religions in the entire world. Therefore, the various aspects of the Chinese religion have been pointed out as defining characteristics of China. A defining characteristic of the Chinese in regards to religion is their issue of reincarnation.
Reincarnation is a belief in the Buddhism belief system. The Chinese belief that once someone dies, they are reborn in a different form . The form in which one is reborn is determined by one’s actions before they passed on. If one lived a noble life, they would be born into a life form that enables them to live well while those who lived a life that caused harm and pain to others are reborn into life forms that cause pain and suffering.
Also the aspect of having mortal gods is another unique characteristic of Chinese religion. The aspect is unique because, in most religions, gods are considered immortal beings. They do not die. Also, most religions do not have the aspect of reincarnation in their beliefs. For example, the Christian religion believes that when one dies, they go into one of two realms that are heaven or hell. They do not believe in reincarnation, despite believing that there is an afterlife.
One of the most common practices of Buddhism that is often portrayed being performed by the monks is meditation. The reason meditation is a defining characteristic of China is because despite meditation being practiced in other parts of the world, people hardly do it for religious purposes. However, in China, meditation is one of the religious practices and not only done for self-improvement purposes.
In conclusion, religion, government and culture differ in different geographical regions. The differences make individual geographical areas stand out in different ways. The Chinese culture is one of the richest cultures in the world that has retained its authenticity despite westernization. It is important for geographical areas to retain their progressive traditions and practices even as they attempt to make changes for the better.
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