U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > World Forums > Asia
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 03-21-2013, 07:41 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,369,517 times
Reputation: 11862

Advertisements

I once read this somewhere (I forget where). I've also heard it claim that the Chinese never really founded a true world religion, since I guess Taoism is more a blending of a philosophy and Chinese folk myths, but I disagree. On the outside, the Chinese are often portrayed as very worldly, pragmatic and business-like, with their feet on terra firma and their eyes on material concerns, but I think people everywhere do look up and wonder. The Chinese are also known for being superstitious and in many cases have embraced both Islam and Christianity.

But traditionally do you think Chinese culture is less spiritually minded than say, Indian culture? I actually consider the US also very un-spiritual, despite the fact it is more religious than Europe, because even the religious people there seem very worldly and materialistic. It does seem that the Chinese are kind of practical, I mean Confucianism was a fairly practical philosophy, while Buddhism, which originated in India, was more esoteric and abstract and not really as concerned with the here and now.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-21-2013, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 9,940,307 times
Reputation: 2978
I can only speak to the mix of Buddhism/Chinese Traditional Beliefs.

I disagree. I just think that Buddhism is just not as demonstrative as Hinduism or Christian/Jewish/Muslim. Both Buddhism and Chinese Traditional Religion are closer to a life philosophy than an organized religion. This makes them integrate better into daily life. Chinese Buddhists don't necessarily go to Temple/Church on some arbitrary day (save around holiday periods), avoid eating arbitrary foods, or have to wear/not wear funny clothes, but they will arrange furniture or avoid activities at certain times of the day according to their beliefs. Most of these practices trace back to practical (if sometimes wrong or at least not scientifically-proven) ideas about what is healthy for a person. Other religions seem to stand much more on arbitrary ceremony, where most aspects of Buddhism/Chinese Traditional Religion have a utilitarian motive.

Some Chinese, who are not visibly religious, will still pray to a Buddha several times a day, when they need help, when they see someone in need of help, or other times they feel it appropriate. I've seen not-particularly-strict Buddhists who silently pray for roadkill, in an almost unnoticable fashion. If a Christian bowed their head and prayed aloud for every dead animal they passed, or rearranged their furniture, or chose where to sit at a table due to "God's Will" one would think they were rather extreme. Now maybe there are such Christians around, and we just don't notice them. Because Buddhism frowns on excessive display of "religiosity" the lack of an evangelical component makes them seem less religious, when they actually may be--on the whole--moreso.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-21-2013, 08:42 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,369,517 times
Reputation: 11862
Quote:
Originally Posted by sponger42 View Post
I can only speak to the mix of Buddhism/Chinese Traditional Beliefs.

I disagree. I just think that Buddhism is just not as demonstrative as Hinduism or Christian/Jewish/Muslim. Both Buddhism and Chinese Traditional Religion are closer to a life philosophy than an organized religion. This makes them integrate better into daily life. Chinese Buddhists don't necessarily go to Temple/Church on some arbitrary day (save around holiday periods), avoid eating arbitrary foods, or have to wear/not wear funny clothes, but they will arrange furniture or avoid activities at certain times of the day according to their beliefs. Most of these practices trace back to practical (if sometimes wrong or at least not scientifically-proven) ideas about what is healthy for a person. Other religions seem to stand much more on arbitrary ceremony, where most aspects of Buddhism/Chinese Traditional Religion have a utilitarian motive.

Some Chinese, who are not visibly religious, will still pray to a Buddha several times a day, when they need help, when they see someone in need of help, or other times they feel it appropriate. I've seen not-particularly-strict Buddhists who silently pray for roadkill, in an almost unnoticable fashion. If a Christian bowed their head and prayed aloud for every dead animal they passed, or rearranged their furniture, or chose where to sit at a table due to "God's Will" one would think they were rather extreme. Now maybe there are such Christians around, and we just don't notice them. Because Buddhism frowns on excessive display of "religiosity" the lack of an evangelical component makes them seem less religious, when they actually may be--on the whole--moreso.
Thanks, that makes sense. I guess Abrahamic and Eastern religions are just coming from two totally different worldview/viewpoints, so Western ideas of religiosity and piety do not always translate into the Eastern context. In some ways, a pious Hindu or Buddhist seems to integrate religion into their daily lives even more than even the most devout monk or lay believer. I think the western religions emphasise doctrine and belief, while the eastern religions emphasis a more holistic understanding.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-21-2013, 10:30 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,154,437 times
Reputation: 9478
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I once read this somewhere (I forget where). I've also heard it claim that the Chinese never really founded a true world religion, since I guess Taoism is more a blending of a philosophy and Chinese folk myths, but I disagree. On the outside, the Chinese are often portrayed as very worldly, pragmatic and business-like, with their feet on terra firma and their eyes on material concerns, but I think people everywhere do look up and wonder. The Chinese are also known for being superstitious and in many cases have embraced both Islam and Christianity.

But traditionally do you think Chinese culture is less spiritually minded than say, Indian culture? I actually consider the US also very un-spiritual, despite the fact it is more religious than Europe, because even the religious people there seem very worldly and materialistic. It does seem that the Chinese are kind of practical, I mean Confucianism was a fairly practical philosophy, while Buddhism, which originated in India, was more esoteric and abstract and not really as concerned with the here and now.
I'm going to project what I experience in Japan on to China.

But, many of my Japanese students flat out say that Japanese people are not religious. But, if you visit any temple/shrine, they certainly seem to outwardly display some reverence to the spiritual spheres. Even in the nightlife areas, there are always little shrines and temples all over the place.

I just think they mix it and integrate it more into their lives, so much, that they aren't even aware of it.

Whereas in Christian/Muslim countries, there seems to be more prosletyzing and more 'with me' or 'against me' and just more 'in your face' about it. Which makes it appear more aggressive, and appear like they are more religious-minded.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-21-2013, 09:34 PM
 
1,487 posts, read 2,054,556 times
Reputation: 936
I think just about all of you have hit on important points but the central point is we cannot measure the spirituality of the Chinese, the Japanese or Koreans by using a yardstick based on Western religious thought. You have actually all said this but in different ways. My late wife and my mother-in-law were strongly Buddhist but my father-in-law was much more of a Taoist, which is pretty rare among the Japanese but that's how it worked out. All of then had a great air of spirituality about them that affected me and influenced me greatly, for which I am eternally grateful. I think the best way to put it might me in very colloquial terms; These people (East Asians here) have a high degree of spirituality but they don't "wear it on their sleeve" as we say. The West tends to do this more.

Those of you who spent more time in Japan might agree that Shinto explains one's origins, Taoism or Confucianism (whichever you choose) is for life experiences and Buddhism is for the next life. A bit simply put but that, in a nutshell, is what I often heard.

My "Japanese family" were followers of two different schools of thought but similar in many ways Tendai and Nichiren (not the lay off-shoots). The way to understanding is by using three different but equally important aspects study, practice and faith. Makes a lot of sense to me. What do you guys think?

I never converted because I have never seen that need. Not only that but most often when I meet typical converts from one, let's say religion, to another they bring a lot of baggage with them from the old school of thought and that usually is a cause of too much anxiety IMO. Converts I find are often much more fanatical in their new beliefs than those who are believers by custom and tradition. This is certainly not a subject we can cover in a few paragraphs. But I'll stop here for the moment.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-26-2013, 05:58 PM
 
32,071 posts, read 32,968,461 times
Reputation: 14950
I disagree. Having visited Chinese temples where you see Chinese people praying, bowing down and lighting incense sticks, one realizes that the Chinese people are very spiritual.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-26-2013, 07:33 PM
 
Location: Tucson/Nogales
17,391 posts, read 21,228,976 times
Reputation: 24216
Big question!!! What are they praying for?

A new Mercedes, BMW?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-26-2013, 07:56 PM
 
1,487 posts, read 2,054,556 times
Reputation: 936
Quote:
Originally Posted by tijlover View Post
Big question!!! What are they praying for?

A new Mercedes, BMW?
No that's usually western converts. Especially those who convert to the soka gakkai. That seems to be the only way to get them to covert. Offer them something material. It's really part of the baggage they bring with them from the former religion. If you can call Buddhism or Taoism a religion in the sense Islam, Christianity, Judaism etc are.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-26-2013, 08:50 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,369,517 times
Reputation: 11862
Quote:
Originally Posted by tijlover View Post
Big question!!! What are they praying for?

A new Mercedes, BMW?
An interesting mix of the ancient appropriating the modern involves paper replicas of material possessions, such as money, a big house, car, even paper computers or mobile phones, being burnt at the altar of ancestors, as part of ancestor veneration/worship. I'm not sure if they literally believe their dearly departed grandfather will be driving a Mercedes Benz in the afterlife, but it's certainly interesting/strange to outsiders.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-26-2013, 09:22 PM
 
4,454 posts, read 5,742,485 times
Reputation: 2186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chava61 View Post
I disagree. Having visited Chinese temples where you see Chinese people praying, bowing down and lighting incense sticks, one realizes that the Chinese people are very spiritual.
Yes I have visited Buddhist temples and most of the people in them are ethnic Chinese. In addition I find it common for a Chinese owned shop to have a Buddha or traditional Chinese Religion symbol there.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > World Forums > Asia
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top