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Such beliefs and practices are often subsumed under the umbrella of "Chinese popular religion. These traditions, especially Buddhism, included the idea of personal cultivation for the purpose of living an ideal life and, as a consequence, attaining some kind of afterlife salvation, such as immortality, enlightenment, or birth in a heavenly realm.
However, individual salvation played a small role in most popular religions. In typical local variants of popular religion, the emphasis was on 1 passing from this world into an ancestral realm that in key ways mirrored this world and 2 the interactions between living persons and their ancestors.
Basic Beliefs and Assumptions In every human society one can find manifestations of the human desire for some kind of continuance beyond death. In the modern West, much of human experience has been with religious theories of continuance that stress the fate of the individual, often conceived as a discrete spiritual "self" or "soul.
In premodern China, especially if one discounts Buddhist influence, a person's desire for continuance beyond death was rooted in different assumptions and manifested in practices not closely related to the pursuit of individual salvation. First, Chinese emphasized biological continuance through descendants to whom they gave the gift of life and for whom they sacrificed many of life's material pleasures.
Moreover, personal sacrifice was not rooted in a belief in asceticism per se but in a belief that sacrificing for one's offspring would engender in them obligations toward elders and ancestors.
Thus, one lived beyond the grave above all through the health and success of one's children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Second, because of the obligations inculcated in children and grandchildren, one could assume they would care for one in old age and in the afterlife.
Indeed, afterlife care involved the most significant and complex rituals in Chinese religious life, including funerals, burials, mourning practices, and rites for ancestors. All this was important not only as an expression of each person's hope for continuance beyond death but as an expression of people's concern that souls for whom no one cared would become ghosts intent on causing mischief.
Finally, there was a stress on mutual obligations between the living and the dead; in other words, an emphasis on the same principle of reciprocity that governed relations among the living members of a Chinese community.
It was assumed that the dead could influence the quality of life for those still in this world—either for good or for ill. On the one hand, proper burial, careful observance of mourning practices, and ongoing offerings of food and gifts for ancestors assured their continued aid.
On the other hand, failure to observe ritual obligations might bring on the wrath of one's ancestors, resulting in family disharmony, economic ruin, or sickness.
Ancestral souls for whom no one cared would become "hungry ghosts" eguiwhich might attack anyone in the community. Royal ancestors, whose worship was the special responsibility of the reigning emperor, could aid or harm people throughout the empire, depending on whether or not the emperor upheld ritual obligations to his ancestors.
In traditional China, the idea that personal continuance after death could be found in the lives of one's descendants has been closely linked to practices rooted in mutual obligations between the living and the dead: But what is the nature of the ancestral state?
What kind of rituals for the dead have been performed by most Chinese? And under what circumstances have individual Chinese sought something more than an afterlife as a comfortable and proud ancestor with loving and successful descendants; that is, some kind of personal salvation?
This may well have been the main factor in the development of beliefs in dual and multiple souls. Late in the Zhou dynasty — B. Philosophers applied the dichotomy to soul theory. Lacking any absolute distinction between physical and spiritual, they considered the yin soul po as more material, and the yang soul hun as more ethereal.
In practice, the po was linked to the body and the grave. The less fearsome hun was linked to the ancestral tablet kept in the family home and the one installed in an ancestral hall if the family's clan could afford to build one. For some, this meant there were two hun, just as, for others, there might be multiple po.
One common view included the idea of three hun and seven po. These multiple soul theories were among the factors in popular religion that mitigated widespread acceptance of belief in salvation of the individual soul.
At the same time, however, multiple soul theories helped Chinese to manage contrasting perceptions of ancestral souls as benevolent or malevolent, for example and to provide an explanatory framework for the differing rituals of the domestic, gravesite, and clan hall cults for ancestors.
While the intent of all these rites was clear—to comfort ancestors rather than to suffer their wrath—the nature of ancestral existence was relatively undefined. Generally speaking, the world of the ancestors was conceived as a murky, dark realm, a "yin" space yinjian.
While not clear on the exact details, Chinese considered the world of departed spirits similar to the world of the living in key ways. They believed residents of the other realm need money and sustenance, must deal with bureaucrats, and should work with the help of the living to improve their fate.
After the arrival of Buddhism in the early centuries of the common era, it contributed more specific ideas about the realm of the dead as well as more exact conceptions of the relationship between one's deeds while alive and one's fate afterward.
For example, the "bureaucratic" dimension of the underworld was enhanced by visions of the Buddhist Ten Courts of Hell, at which judges meted out punishments according to karmic principles that required recompense for every good or evil deed. Moreover, regardless of whether or not they followed Buddhism in other ways, most Chinese embraced the doctrines of karma retribution for past actions and samsara cyclical existence in their thinking about life and death.
These doctrines helped people to explain the fate of residents in the realms of the living and the dead, not to mention interactions between them. For example, the ghost stories that fill Chinese religious tracts as well as secular literature typically present ghosts as vehicles of karmic retribution against those evildoers who escaped punishment by worldly authorities perhaps in a former lifetime.
While reading such stories often has been just a casual diversion, performing rites to assure that departed ancestors do not become wandering ghosts has been a serious matter.
Rites for the Dead Over the course of Chinese history, classical texts on ritual and commentaries on them had increasing influence on the practice of rites for the dead.
The influence of these texts resulted in widespread standardization of funeral rites in particular and rites for the dead in general.BUDDHISM. Buddhism has million followers. It was founded by Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha (Enlightened One), in southern .
Nichiren Buddhism is a branch of Mahayana Buddhism based on the teachings of the 13th-century Japanese Buddhist priest Nichiren (–) and is one of the Kamakura Buddhism schools.: Its teachings derive from some – extant letters and treatises attributed to Nichiren.
With the advent, and proselytizing efforts, of the Soka Gakkai International, called "the most prominent. Despite China's shift to atheism after the Communists took control of China in , Buddhism continued to grow in China, especially after the economic reforms in the s.
Today there are an estimated million followers of Buddhism in China, according to the . In premodern China, the great majority of people held beliefs and observed practices related to death that they learned as members of families and villages, not as members of organized religions.
The structure/skeleton is similar to CAPF (Assistant commandant exam). Majority of questions from general studies and a few question from maths+reasoning. Timothy Burgin is a Kripalu & Pranakriya trained yoga instructor living and teaching in Asheville, NC.
Timothy has studied and taught many styles of yoga and has completed a hour Advanced Pranakriya Yoga training.