Theology & Religion

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Chinese Religions

Beliefs & Practices

In the series Religious Beliefs & Practices

Jeaneane Fowler was formerly Head of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Wales, Newport, and later an Honorary Research Fellow. Her publications include Hinduism: Beliefs and Practices (Choice Outstanding Title, 1997).

Merv Fowler was also formerly Head of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Wales. His publications include Buddhism: Beliefs and practices and Zen Buddhism. The authors have collaborated before for World Religions: An introduction for students.

This book brings together the studies of Jeaneane Fowler in Taoism, Chinese popular religion and the broader canvas of Chinese cosmogony, and those of Merv Fowler in Confucianism, Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism and Pure Land Buddhism. Chinese Religions requires no previous knowledge and thereby serves as an introduction to the religions of China, and places it in the wider context of Chinese history and philosophy. The facets of Chinese religions are as broad, multilayered and varied as the geographical vastness of China itself, yet so many Chinese beliefs have found their way into the West – the theory of yin and yang, the I Ching, the Tao Te Ching are good examples.

One of the greatest characteristics of Chinese religions is that they encompass virtually every avenue of religious thought throughout the long span of Chinese pre-historic and historical pathways. Contents include:

Ancient China: The Three Dynasties
Religious Taoism
Rhythms of the Universe
Ch’an Buddhism
Pure Land Buddhism
Popular Religion
Classical Taoism
Chinese Religions Today

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-172-6
Paperback Price: £18.95 / $29.95
Release Date: September 2007
Page Extent / Format: 320 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Preface and Acknowledgements


1 Ancient China: The Three Dynasties
The Hsia/Xia dynasty
The Shang dynasty
The Chou/Zhou dynasty
The age of the philosophers

2 Rhythms of the Universe
The Book of Changes: the I Ching/Yijing
Yin and yang
The Five Agents

3 Confucianism
The ju/ru tradition
The Analects
The Confucian Classics
Confucian development
Confucianism in formation
Meng-tzu/Mengzi and Hsün-tzu/Xunzi
Confucianism in adaptation

4 Classical Taoism
What is Taoism
Lao-tzu/Laozi and the Tao Te Ching/Daodejing
Creation and reversal
Wu-wei: non-action
Tzu-jan/ziran: naturalness and spontaneity

5 Buddhism
The advent of Buddhism in China
The T'ien-t'ai/Tiantai (Jap. Tendai) school
Devotional Buddhism
Pure Land Buddhism

6 Religious Taoism
Historical development
Life beyond Earth
Religious praxis

7 Neo-Confucianism
The transforming face of Confucianism
The place of women in Confucian culture
The Five Masters
The dissemination of Confucianism
Modern New Confucianism

8 Ch'an Buddhism
The Zen movement after Hui-neng
The Five Houses
Kuei-yang/Guiyang (Jap. Igyo) and the circular figures
Lin-chi/Linji (Jap. Rinzai) and shouting and beating
Koan practice
The master–pupil relationship
Ts'ao-tung/Caodong (Jap. Soto) and the formula of the five ranks
Yun-men/Yunmen (Jap. Ummon) and the "pass of a single word"
Fa-yen/Fayan (Jap. Hogen) and the inner unity of the six marks of being
The Sung/Song period

9 Popular Religion
What is popular religion?
Deities of popular religion
The calendar
Popular praxis

10 Chinese Religions Today
Communist China
Popular religion
Influences of Chinese religions in the West

Further Reading

This volume is an accessible yet thorough guide to the rich world of Chinese religions. Separate chapters describe the history, belief, myths, texts, central thinkers, and practice of Taoism (both classical and religious), Confucianism, Neo-Confucianism, Buddhism (both Zen and Pure Land), and popular religion, with separate discussion of the various religions in contemporary China.
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