Insight travel map China

Religious The possibility of salvation brought Buddhism many followers. In the persecution gth c. the movement grew to be a very strong economic force. The

Tang Dynasty (618-907) which had until then treated ail religious beliefs with tolerance, feared the loss of its economic and spiritual influence, ordered the closure of all Buddhist temples and banned the Buddhist religion – a severe blow to Chinese Buddhism. Only the Chan (Japanese Zen) school managed to survive the Tang Dynasty’s campaign of persecution and to carry forward the religious and spiritual inheritance of Buddhism.

Religious Other religious beliefs are widespread in China. While Nestorianism, Insight travel map China Minorities Manichaeism and the teachings of Zarathustra – all hybrids in which Christian doctrine mingles with elements of Middle Eastern and Persian faiths-only enjoyed a short life under the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and Judaism won for itself small and isolated pockets of faithful adherents, it was Islam which won most support from the population of north-western China, where many people had Arab ancestors. Unlike Buddhism, the teachings of Islam never came close to the Chinese soul in a cultural sense.

Catholicism Catholicism was never able to penetrate into the religious imagination of the Chinese. Attempts by Jesuit missionaries around 1600 had very little success and this was despite the intervention of the Italian Matteo Ricci who won the support of the Chinese court and became an official in the imperial bureaucracy.

The Eight Immortals are the deities of the Taoist paradise who enjoy Ba Xian, eternal life. Three of the figures are identifiable historical personalities, the Eight but the remaining five are legendary characters. The various identities Immortals which they assumed in their earthly life (rich man and poor man, man and woman, soldier and official) symbolise not just the complementary Yin and Yang forces, but also the ordered society of the time. They can be seen sitting on a fluffy cloud on which they move from place to place, walking up steep cliff faces and seeking the truth or riding on the back of a crane, a mythical beast. In the most famous episode, the Eight Immortals cross the seas and engage in battle with adversity a thousand times, but then have to forego their cloud and continue their journey by other means – a fan, a sword and a bamboo cane.

The prince’s son Siddhartha, who lived in India between the 6th and Buddha 5th c. b.c. became after many long years of contemplation the Buddha Sakyamuni Sakyamuni. He is always represented sitting cross-legged on a lotus flower dressed only in a simple loin-cloth with no adornments or else lying on his side, resting his face on his hand. Apart from the existence of this historically authentic figure, five other cosmic or metaphysical buddhas, who never lived, led a supernatural existence. They are portrayed in various colours (white, red, black, green and yellow) on the back of an animal (lion, elephant, eagle, peacock and horse).

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