What is the oldest religion in China?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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SarathW
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What is the oldest religion in China?

Post by SarathW » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:10 pm

What is the oldest religion in China?
Was it more close to Hinduism or the Abrahamic religion?

“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Manopubbangama
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Re: What is the oldest religion in China?

Post by Manopubbangama » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:52 pm

Taoism along with various forms of animism and ancestor-worship.




:sage: :bow: :yingyang:


A long time ago, in high school, I read "Journey the West" a fictionalized account of Faxian's trip to South Asia.

Its very, very rich in Chinese folklore from its mosaic sources.

I recommend for anyone sick of nickle and dime thrillers at the pharmacy.
Buddhists, beware of spiritual transvestites.

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Benjamin
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Re: What is the oldest religion in China?

Post by Benjamin » Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:41 pm

People throw around terms like 道家 and 道教 here in China and Taiwan, but they ultimately are both pointing to older "Philosophical" Daoism, as it is sometimes called. Read Zhuangzi (莊子)or Laozi (老子), sometimes poorly romanized as Lao-Tzu.

A good look at a text which is rather Daoist in flavor would be the Xin-Xing-Ming (信心銘), attributed to the third Zen patriarch Sengcan.

Here's a peek. (My translation)

至道無難  唯嫌揀擇。  
The Way is not difficult; simply refrain from all preferences.

但莫憎愛  洞然明白。
Only in the absence of desire and aversion is it fully revealed.

毫釐有差  天地懸隔。
Make the smallest distinction, and heaven and earth are set apart.

欲得現前,莫存順逆。
If you wish to see the way, then hold no opinions for or against it.

違順相爭,是為心病。
Setting likes against dislikes is the disease of the mind.

不識玄旨,徒勞念靜。
Not understanding the essence, all efforts at silence are futile.

圓同太虛,無欠無餘。
The Great Void itself is fully whole, free of lack or excess.

良由取捨  所以不如 。
Yet by grasping and pushing away, we fail to perceive it.

莫逐有緣  勿住空忍。
Live not in pursuit of the world, nor by dwelling in emptiness.

一種平懷  泯然自盡 。
Resting in the oneness of things, all error disappears.
:candle: :buddha1: :candle:

SarathW
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Re: What is the oldest religion in China?

Post by SarathW » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:57 pm

According to the video, there was another religion about 3000BC pre-date Confucianism and Daoism.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Kim OHara
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Re: What is the oldest religion in China?

Post by Kim OHara » Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:55 pm

SarathW wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:10 pm
What is the oldest religion in China?
Was it more close to Hinduism or the Abrahamic religion?

From the Intro on YouTube: " Can it be that the supreme God of China, who was worshiped by the Chinese people throughout most of their history, is the same Creator God of Judaism and of Christianity?"

My answer: No.

And I'm not even going to watch anything which can even consider such a question (even if I had time, which I haven't) because it will be totally untrustworthy. :toilet:

:coffee:
Kim

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mikenz66
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Re: What is the oldest religion in China?

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:28 pm

Kim OHara wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:55 pm
From the Intro on YouTube: " Can it be that the supreme God of China, who was worshiped by the Chinese people throughout most of their history, is the same Creator God of Judaism and of Christianity?"
Since it's a Christian video channel, their answer would clearly be "yes".

:heart:
Mike

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Kim OHara
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Re: What is the oldest religion in China?

Post by Kim OHara » Sun Jan 06, 2019 3:13 am

Did I say, "totally untrustworthy" ?
I think I did.

:smile:
Kim

form
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Re: What is the oldest religion in China?

Post by form » Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:44 pm

Manopubbangama wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:52 pm
Taoism along with various forms of animism and ancestor-worship.
Yes. Any culture, religion started from insecurity of the mind.

form
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Re: What is the oldest religion in China?

Post by form » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:08 am

Benjamin wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:41 pm
People throw around terms like 道家 and 道教 here in China and Taiwan, but they ultimately are both pointing to older "Philosophical" Daoism, as it is sometimes called. Read Zhuangzi (莊子)or Laozi (老子), sometimes poorly romanized as Lao-Tzu.

A good look at a text which is rather Daoist in flavor would be the Xin-Xing-Ming (信心銘), attributed to the third Zen patriarch Sengcan.

Here's a peek. (My translation)

至道無難  唯嫌揀擇。  
The Way is not difficult; simply refrain from all preferences.

但莫憎愛  洞然明白。
Only in the absence of desire and aversion is it fully revealed.

毫釐有差  天地懸隔。
Make the smallest distinction, and heaven and earth are set apart.

欲得現前,莫存順逆。
If you wish to see the way, then hold no opinions for or against it.

違順相爭,是為心病。
Setting likes against dislikes is the disease of the mind.

不識玄旨,徒勞念靜。
Not understanding the essence, all efforts at silence are futile.

圓同太虛,無欠無餘。
The Great Void itself is fully whole, free of lack or excess.

良由取捨  所以不如 。
Yet by grasping and pushing away, we fail to perceive it.

莫逐有緣  勿住空忍。
Live not in pursuit of the world, nor by dwelling in emptiness.

一種平懷  泯然自盡 。
Resting in the oneness of things, all error disappears.
Your translation content has some parallels with dhamma except for the oneness thing.

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Benjamin
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Re: What is the oldest religion in China?

Post by Benjamin » Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:52 am

form wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:08 am
Benjamin wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:41 pm
People throw around terms like 道家 and 道教 here in China and Taiwan, but they ultimately are both pointing to older "Philosophical" Daoism, as it is sometimes called. Read Zhuangzi (莊子)or Laozi (老子), sometimes poorly romanized as Lao-Tzu.

A good look at a text which is rather Daoist in flavor would be the Xin-Xing-Ming (信心銘), attributed to the third Zen patriarch Sengcan.

Here's a peek. (My translation)

至道無難  唯嫌揀擇。  
The Way is not difficult; simply refrain from all preferences.

但莫憎愛  洞然明白。
Only in the absence of desire and aversion is it fully revealed.

毫釐有差  天地懸隔。
Make the smallest distinction, and heaven and earth are set apart.

欲得現前,莫存順逆。
If you wish to see the way, then hold no opinions for or against it.

違順相爭,是為心病。
Setting likes against dislikes is the disease of the mind.

不識玄旨,徒勞念靜。
Not understanding the essence, all efforts at silence are futile.

圓同太虛,無欠無餘。
The Great Void itself is fully whole, free of lack or excess.

良由取捨  所以不如 。
Yet by grasping and pushing away, we fail to perceive it.

莫逐有緣  勿住空忍。
Live not in pursuit of the world, nor by dwelling in emptiness.

一種平懷  泯然自盡 。
Resting in the oneness of things, all error disappears.
Your translation content has some parallels with dhamma except for the oneness thing.
Certainly, there are parallels, and it is considered a dharma text. The Chinese Zen or "Chan" school organized it's lineage with "patriarchs", and this text is attributed to the third.

Naturally I had to translate it in line with what I believe the author meant, rather than what I would want it to say, but I can accept the language of oneness as skillful language if viewed in a more phenomenological sense rather than a metaphysical assertion (think the bahiya sutta). The usage of oneness and suchness and so-on are very common in the Daoist-influenced Chan schools in China, so in a way it's more of a Mahayana text or even a Daoist text than anything Theravada per se, but I enjoyed translating it.
:candle: :buddha1: :candle:

form
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Re: What is the oldest religion in China?

Post by form » Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:44 am

Benjamin wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:52 am
form wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:08 am
Benjamin wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:41 pm
People throw around terms like 道家 and 道教 here in China and Taiwan, but they ultimately are both pointing to older "Philosophical" Daoism, as it is sometimes called. Read Zhuangzi (莊子)or Laozi (老子), sometimes poorly romanized as Lao-Tzu.

A good look at a text which is rather Daoist in flavor would be the Xin-Xing-Ming (信心銘), attributed to the third Zen patriarch Sengcan.

Here's a peek. (My translation)

至道無難  唯嫌揀擇。  
The Way is not difficult; simply refrain from all preferences.

但莫憎愛  洞然明白。
Only in the absence of desire and aversion is it fully revealed.

毫釐有差  天地懸隔。
Make the smallest distinction, and heaven and earth are set apart.

欲得現前,莫存順逆。
If you wish to see the way, then hold no opinions for or against it.

違順相爭,是為心病。
Setting likes against dislikes is the disease of the mind.

不識玄旨,徒勞念靜。
Not understanding the essence, all efforts at silence are futile.

圓同太虛,無欠無餘。
The Great Void itself is fully whole, free of lack or excess.

良由取捨  所以不如 。
Yet by grasping and pushing away, we fail to perceive it.

莫逐有緣  勿住空忍。
Live not in pursuit of the world, nor by dwelling in emptiness.

一種平懷  泯然自盡 。
Resting in the oneness of things, all error disappears.
Your translation content has some parallels with dhamma except for the oneness thing.
Certainly, there are parallels, and it is considered a dharma text. The Chinese Zen or "Chan" school organized it's lineage with "patriarchs", and this text is attributed to the third.

Naturally I had to translate it in line with what I believe the author meant, rather than what I would want it to say, but I can accept the language of oneness as skillful language if viewed in a more phenomenological sense rather than a metaphysical assertion (think the bahiya sutta). The usage of oneness and suchness and so-on are very common in the Daoist-influenced Chan schools in China, so in a way it's more of a Mahayana text or even a Daoist text than anything Theravada per se, but I enjoyed translating it.
Sure. This one seems like two flavours, although some have three, tao-mahayana-confucian combination. Now that u mentioned, what u think of Śūraṃgama-sūtra, the earth seers, heaven seers, human seers are definitely not buddhist creations but taoist. So it seems like a two flavours from what i see.

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Coëmgenu
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Re: What is the oldest religion in China?

Post by Coëmgenu » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:27 pm

SarathW wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:10 pm
What is the oldest religion in China?
Was it more close to Hinduism or the Abrahamic religion?

This is a propaganda video funded in part by Western Evangelical Christians who have a vested interest in making traditional Chinese religion resemble pre-Christian Judaism. This vested interest can be seen when one realizes that if traditional Chinese religion can be likened to Judaism, than Christianity can be likened to the fulfillment of traditional Chinese religiosity.

See also this video, which creates fake Chinese etymologies to argue that the ancient Chinese knew the "real" history of the world, i.e. a "Young Earth Creationist" history:




Look at how he sneaks it in. The biblical literalism. I watched the whole video, but that is because I like a good laugh. These fake etymologies remind me of the Ven Waharaka Cult.

Here is a man teaching a room of Chinese converts that their conversation is not a betrayal of their former tradition, it is a returning to a "more ancient" Chinese tradition. How sneaky a re-framing!
如無為,如是難見、不動、不屈、不死、無漏、覆蔭、洲渚、濟渡、依止、擁護、不流轉、離熾焰、離燒然、流通、清涼、微妙、安隱、無病、無所有、涅槃。
Like this is the uncreated, like this is that which is difficult to realize, with no moving, no bending, no dying. Utterly lacking secretions and smothered in the dark, it is the island shore. Where there is ferrying, it is the crossing. It is dependency's ceasing, it is the end of circulating transmissions. It is the exhaustion of the flame, it is the ending of the burning. Flowing openly, pure and cool, with secret subtlety, and calm occultation, lacking ailment, lacking owning, nirvāṇa.
Asaṁskṛtadharmasūtra, Sermon on the Uncreated Phenomenon, T99.224b7, Saṁyuktāgama 890

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Coëmgenu
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Re: What is the oldest religion in China?

Post by Coëmgenu » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:48 pm

Similarities between ancient Chinese imperial religion and ancient Judaism:

1. Bull sacrifices
2. Worship of "heaven" (likened to worship of the Abrahamic God by Chinese Christians)

Differences between ancient Chinese imperial religion and ancient Judaism:

1. Pretty much everything else

IMO
如無為,如是難見、不動、不屈、不死、無漏、覆蔭、洲渚、濟渡、依止、擁護、不流轉、離熾焰、離燒然、流通、清涼、微妙、安隱、無病、無所有、涅槃。
Like this is the uncreated, like this is that which is difficult to realize, with no moving, no bending, no dying. Utterly lacking secretions and smothered in the dark, it is the island shore. Where there is ferrying, it is the crossing. It is dependency's ceasing, it is the end of circulating transmissions. It is the exhaustion of the flame, it is the ending of the burning. Flowing openly, pure and cool, with secret subtlety, and calm occultation, lacking ailment, lacking owning, nirvāṇa.
Asaṁskṛtadharmasūtra, Sermon on the Uncreated Phenomenon, T99.224b7, Saṁyuktāgama 890

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Re: What is the oldest religion in China?

Post by mrgrtt123 » Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:54 am

Buddhism was introduced during the latter Han dynasty and first mentioned in 65 CE. Liu Ying, a half brother of Emperor Ming of Han (57–75 CE) was one of the earliest Chinese adherents, at a time when the imported religion interacted with Huang-Lao proto-Taoism.

This is what shows up in my research. :coffee:
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