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Taoism, Buddhaism, Shintoism, Confucianism & Hare Krishna

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What is Taoism?

Taoism is the underlying principle in all of Chinese culture. It is a system of thought that attempts to explain human existence in the Universe. It describes the natural interactions of Heaven and Earth upon Man, it attempts to give meaning to existence, and the study of Taoism allows us to find peace, truth and enlightenment.

It's origins extend back to the dawn of Chinese civilisation with the legendary Emperor Fu Hsi, more than 5,000 years ago, and has over the centuries grown and transformed to become a religion, a philosophy, a system of magic and a system of health practice. There is an incredible array of schools, sects and methods included in the world of Taoism, and despite the fact that they all teach with a different focus, none discounts the other.

 

In a very real sense one can consider Tai Chi Chuan to be a physical expression and manifestation of the principles and philosophy of Taoism.

 Lao Tzu: Father of Taoism

Chuang Tzu: The Next Voice

Development of Taoism 

Yang Hsiung

Wang Ch'ung

Huai-Nan Tzu

Lieh Tzu & Yang Chu

Religious Taoism

Taoist Practices and Beliefs

Taoist Sects

History of Religious Taoism

Taoist Deities

Yu-huang -- The Jade Emperor

Yuan-shih T'ien-tsun -- The First Principal

San-ch'ing -- Three Pure Ones

San-kuan -- Three Officials

San-yuan -- Three Epochs

T'ien-shih

Pa-hsien -- Eight Immortals

Neo-Taoism

Wang Pi

Ho Yen

Kuo Hsiang

Tai Chi & Taoism

[Books on Taoism]  [Other Electronic Resources on Taoism]

 

  1. The five colours blind the eye.
    The five tones deafen the ear.
    The five flavours dull the taste.
    Racing and hunting madden the mind.
    Precious things lead one astray.
  2. Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels and not by what he sees.
    He lets go of that and chooses this.

The central vehicle of achieving tranquillity was the Tao, a term which has been translated as 'the way' or 'the path.' Te in this context refers to virtue and Ching refers to laws. Thus the Tao Te Ching could be translated as The Law (or Canon) of Virtue and it's Way. The Tao was the central mystical term of the Lao Tzu and the Taoists, a formless, unfathomable source of all things.

 

  1. Look, it cannot be seen - it is beyond form.
    Listen, it cannot be heard - it is beyond sound.
    Grasp, it cannot be held - it is intangible.
    These three are indefinable, they are one.
  2. From above it is not bright;
    From below it is not dark:
    Unbroken thread beyond description.
    It returns to nothingness.
    Form of the formless,
    Image of the imageless,
    It is called indefinable and beyond imagination.
  3. Stand before it - there is no beginning.
    Follow it and there is no end.
    Stay with the Tao, Move with the present.
  4. Knowing the ancient beginning is the essence of Tao.
 

Understanding this, Taoist philosophy followed a very interesting circle. On the one hand the Taoists, rejected the Confucian attempts to regulate life and society and counseled instead to turn away from it to a solitary contemplation of nature. On the other hand they believed that by doing so one could ultimately harness the powers of the universe. By 'doing nothing' one could 'accomplish everything.' Lao Tzu writes:

 

  1. The Tao abides in non-action,
    Yet nothing is left undone.
    If kings and lords observed this,
    The ten thousand things would develop naturally.
    If they still desired to act,
    They would return to the simplicity of formless substance.
    Without form there is no desire.
    Without desire there is tranquillity.
    In this way all things would be at peace.

In this way Taoist philosophy reached out to council rulers and advise them of how to govern their domains. Thus Taoism, in a peculiar and roundabout way, became a political philosophy. The formulation follows these lines:

The Taoist sage has no ambitions, therefore he can never fail. He who never fails always succeeds. And he who always succeeds is all- powerful.

Yang Hsiung
Wang Ch'ung
Huai-Nan Tzu
Lieh Tzu & Yang Chu

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Basic Beliefs of Buddhism

The basic beliefs of Buddhism can be demonstrated in the following concepts and doctrines:

The Four Noble Truths

The First Noble Truthis the existence of suffering. Birth is painful and death is painful; disease and old age are painful. Not having what we desire is painful and having what we do not desire is also painful.

The Second Noble Truth is the cause of suffering. It is the craving desire for the pleasures of the senses, which seeks satisfaction now here, now there; the craving for happiness and prosperity in this life and in future lives.

The Third Noble Truth is the ending of suffering. To be free of suffering one must give up, get rid of, extinguish this very craving, so that no passion and no desire remain.

The Fourth Noble Truth leads to the ending of all pain by way of the Eightfold Path.

The Eightfold Path

The first step on that path is Right Views: You must accept the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.

The second is Right Resolve: You must renounce the pleasures of the senses; you must harbor no ill will toward anyone and harm no living creature.

The third is Right Speech: Do not lie; do not slander or abuse anyone. Do not indulge in idle talk.

The fourth is Right Behavior: Do not destroy any living creature; take only what is given to you; do not commit any unlawful sexual act.

The fifth is Right Occupation: You must earn your livelihood in a way that will harm no one.

The sixth is Right Effort: You must resolve and strive heroically to prevent any evil qualities from arising in you and to abandon any evil qualities that you may possess. Strive to acquire good qualities and encourage those you do possess to grow, increase, and be perfected.

The seventh is Right Contemplation: Be observant, strenuous, alert, contemplative, and free of desire and of sorrow.

The eighth is Right Meditation: When you have abandoned all sensuous pleasures, all evil qualities, both joy and sorrow, you must then enter the four degrees of meditation, which are produced by concentration.

Buddhist Precepts

There are five precepts taught by Buddhism that all Buddhists should follow:

  1. Kill no living thing.
  2. Do not steal.
  3. Do not commit adultery.
  4. Tell no lies.
  5. Do not drink intoxicants or take drugs.

Other precepts apply only to monks and nuns:

  1. Eat moderately and only at the appointed time.
  2. Avoid that which excites the senses.
  3. Do not wear adornments.
  4. Do not sleep in luxurious beds.
  5. Accept no silver or gold.

Sacred Scriptures

In Theravada (Southeast Asian) Buddhism, there are three groups of writings considered to be holy scripture, known as the "Three Baskets" (Tripitaka). The Vinaya Pitaka (discipline basket) contains rules for the higher class of Buddhists; the Sutta Pitaka (teaching basket) contains the discourses of Buddha; and the Abidhamma Pitaka (metaphysical basket) contains Buddhist theology.

wheel of SamsaraMahayana (Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, etc.) Buddhism contains an incredibly large amount of holy writings, over five thousand volumes. The oldest scriptures are based on Sanskrit, while others have been written in Nepalese, Tibetan, and Chinese. There are no clear limits as to what should be admitted as scripture, so thousands of writings on the topic have been admitted.

 

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ShintoismShinto
Symbols   Art Gallery

 

     Founded in 660 BC, at the time of Buddhism, it was Japan's state religion until 1945.

    "Shinto" means "way of the gods" ("kami no michi"), and it is a "cosmic religion", that finds in the beauty and symmetry of nature manifestations of the gods.

    The essence of Shintoism is
kami, the divine spirit found in all things in heaven and earth, mountains and rivers, sun and moon, plants, animals, and human beings... and very specially at Mount Fuji, the cherry blossoms, bonsai trees, formal gardens, and the Sakaki (the holy tree).

    Every Shintoist would be very happy to be a "Franciscan", with the loving brother sun, sister mountain, brother dog, sister flower, brother neighbor, brother wolf...

    Shinto accepts the material world as good, while Buddhism view the world as evil, yet both religions are practiced in Japan... and often at the same time: They celebrate weddings in Shinto "shrines", and funerals in Buddhist "temples".

    The main deity is Goddess Amaterasu, a sun goddess of fertility, reputed to be the founder of the ruler dynasty in Japan, so the Emperor is divine... and Shintoism was the state religion until World War II (1945)... nothing after-death!
   
God Jino
is the protector of property, usually found in the gardens at home

The Number of Shintoists
, varies with different sources:
        Encyclopedia Britannica:  1974: 63 million; 1995: 3 million.
        Ministry of Education:  1974: 90 million; 1978: 99 million, with 88 million Buddhists, and 1 million Christians.

Sacred Texts:
   
"Kojiki", ancient masters (710 AC);
    "Nihon Shoki", chronicles of Japan (720.A.C).

TRADITIONS:
    1- Jinga, the state religion until 1945.
    2- Kyoko, follows the teachings of a leader.


Shrine visitors write their wishes on these wooden plates and then leave them at the shrine in the hope that their wishes come true. Most people wish for good health, success in business, passing entrance exams, love or wealth.

A Shintoist would love to become a Franciscan!.

Shintoism is a Japanese religion that came from the indigenous people of the country. Beginning in the late fourth century B.C., it has no founder or doctrine. The beliefs of this religion center on being one with nature. Members of the Shinto belief worship the kami, who include native deities (including emperors and heroes), spirits of nature, and mythical objects. Shintoism is divided into four main forms: Koshitsu, Shuha, Folk, and Jinja.

  • Koshitsu- Shinto standing for the Shinto of the Imperial House. It is a general term for rites that the emperor performs.
  • Shuha- Classified into two categories: Sect and New Sect. Each group has a founder and its own doctrines, which goes against mainstream Shintoism.
  • Folk- Practiced more by commoners; inseparable from the Jinja Shinto
  • Jinja- means shrine; refers to Shinto who worship in shrines, as a community of locals or kin, and perform their activities or rites together; known as the core of Shintoism

Shinto is a general term for the activities of the Japanese people to worship all the deities of heaven and earth, and its origin is as old as the history of the Japanese. It was towards the end of the 6th century when the Japanese were conscious of these activities and called them 'Way of Kami(the deity or the deities )'. It coincides the time when the 31st Emperor Yomei prayed before an image of Buddha for the first time as an emperor for recovery of his illness. Thus accepting Buddhism, a foreign religion, the Japanese realized existence of a tradition of their own faith.

After having gone through a long history since then, this indigenous faith, Shinto, has been developed into four main forms: the Koshitsu Shinto ( Shinto of the Imperial House), the Jinja Shinto (the Shrine Shinto), the Shuha Shinto (the Sect Shinto), and the Minzoku Shinto (the Folk Shinto).


CONTENTS

1.The Koshitsu Shinto

(Shinto of the Imperial House)

2.The Shuha Shinto

(The sect Shinto)

3.The Folk Shinto

A. The Yearly Round of Observances
B. Rites of Passages

4.The Jinja Shinto

(The Shrine Shinto)
A. Jinja (or Shrine)
B. Shinto priesthood
C. The Concept of Kami
D. Procedures of a Worshipping Rite
E. Festival
F. The Authentic Shinto Faith
G. On Afterdeath
H. Sins and the Concept of Shinto Ethics


[NEXT] [HOME]

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= CONFUCIUS =ConfucianismConfucianism

 


    Confucianism is a "code of conduct" to live this life, and it has had a tremendous impact on how the Chinese live their lives... with a great influence in Chinese government, education, and attitudes toward correct personal behavior and the individual duties to society.

    - No church nor clergy; no teaching on the worship of God or gods, or life after death.
Confucianism is actually a philosophy of life, not a Religion... like Buddhism.
    Founded in China by Kung-futze, "master Kung", known as Confucius (551-479 AC).


    Confucius wanted to be a politician, even a Prime Minister, but he failed... and dedicated to preach good moral conduct... after his death he is the Chinese most influential in the history of China, and had all the honors he never had in life: The Government ordered the "worship of Confucius", and named him the "Co-Assessor with the deities of Heaven and Earth". His precepts and principles were incorporated into the Chinese Law in 210 BC.

    His way to please God or the gods is through a "good conduct" with your family, neighbors, and society... if you are a good person, God is going to like you, as we already commented in Taoism.

    Some say that Confucianism is no religion in reality, because Confucius is a philosopher, moralist, statesman and educationist, but no religionist. They say that the thoughts and teachings of Confucius are ethical philosophy, political and educational principle, but not religious philosophy.

    The "Jen": The essence of all his teachings may be summed up under this one word ‘Jen’. The nearest equivalent to this difficult word is "social virtue". All those virtues which help to maintain social harmony and peace like benevolence, charity, magnanimity, sincerity, respectfulness, altruism, diligence, loving kindness, goodness are included in Jen.

    His "Golden Rule" is: "What you do not want done to yourself, do not do unto others". "The injuries done to you by an enemy should be returned with a combination of love and justice".

Confucianism
The Symbol means total harmony, righteousness, in your own life and in your relations with your neighbor.

    The "universal virtues" are: Wisdom, Benevolence, and Fortitude... Asked about what is "Benevolence", he answered: "It is to love all men"; what is "knowledge?: "It is to know all men"... The "perfect virtue": "Gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness".

    Confucius said: A virtuous man has three awes:
    1- Awe for Heaven’s decree,
    2- Awe for great men.
    3- Awe for saints’ words... When worshipping God, one must feel as if He were visibly present.

    Confucius laid great stress on the cultivation of character, purity of heart and conduct. He exhorted the people to develop a good character first, which is a priceless jewel and which is the best of all virtues.

    The nature of man, according to Confucius, is fundamentally good inclined towards goodness. Perfection of goodness can be found in sages and saints. Every man should attempt to reach the ideal by leading a virtuous life, by possessing a very noble character, and by doing his duty unselfishly with sincerity and truthfulness. He who is endowed with a good character and divine virtue is a princely type of man. The princely man sticks to virtue, and the inferior man clings to material comfort. The princely man is just while the inferior man expects rewards and favours. The princely man is dignified, noble, magnanimous, and humble while the inferior man is mean, proud, crooked, and arrogant.

    In the "Great Learning" Confucius revealed the process, step by step, by which self-development is attained and by which it flows over into the common life to serve the state and bless mankind. The order of development which Confucius set forth is as follows:
        Investigation of phenomena,
        Learning,
        Sincerity,
        Rectitude of purpose,
        Self-development,
        Family-discipline,
        Local self-government, and
        Universal self-government.

    His teaching was largely concerned with the problems of good government. He said, "The Ruler himself should be virtuous, just, honest and dutiful. A virtuous ruler is like the Pole-star which, by keeping its place, makes all other stars to evolve round it. As is the Ruler, so will be the subjects."

    Confucius held that Society was made up of five relationships: Those of husband and wife, of parent and child, of elder and younger brother, or generally of elders and youngsters, of Ruler and Minister or subject, and of friend and friend.
    A country would be well-governed when all the parties performed their parts aright in these relationships.
    Confucius said: "There was Tao (a way or road of righteousness) only when fathers were fathers, when sons were sons, when Rulers were Rulers and when ministers were ministers."

    He was a disciple of Lao-Tze, and after a meeting with the founder of Taoism, Confucius said: "I know how the birds fly, how the fishes swim, haw animals run. But there is the Dragon. I cannot tell how it mounts on the winds through the clouds and flies through heaven. Today I have seen the Dragon". More on Confucius, see Taoism.

    - Confucianism is lived in syncretism with any other religion in China... any Confucianist would be very happy to become a Christian!.

Scriptures, Books:

   The following four books are intimately concerned with the principles of Confucianism:
    1- The Confucian Analects in twenty books. Written by his pupils, is the Bible of Confucianism. The Confucian Analects, contains sayings and conversations between the Teacher and his disciples.
    2- Lun Yu, and Meng Tzu, the Philosophy of Mencius, is written by an ardent Confucianist. It deals with various questions raised by his disciples. It gives advice to rulers of feudal states. It treats of psychology, political theory and economics.
    3- Ta-Hsueh, the Great Learning or learning for adults, it is a politico-ethical treatise
    4- Chung Yung, The Doctrine of the Mean, it was written by Kung Chi, a grandson of Confucius. It is a purely philosophical book. It treats of some general principles that concern the nature of mean and right conduct.
Confucian Analects, Mencius, Doctrine of the MeanThe Great Learning  The Confucian Canon in Chinese and English

Death:
    Every human needs "religion", even in Confucianism!. At death, the relatives cry out aloud to inform the neighbors. The family starts mourning and puts on clothes made of a coarse material. The corpse is washed and placed in a coffin. Mourners bring incense and money to offset the cost of the funeral. Food and significant objects of the deceased are placed into the coffin. A Buddhist or Taoist priest (or even a Christian minister) performs the burial ritual. Friends and family follow the coffin to the cemetery, along with a willow branch which symbolizes the soul of the person who has died. The latter is carried back to the family altar where it is used to "install" the spirit of the deceased. Liturgies are performed on the 7th, 9th, 49th day after the burial and on the first and third anniversaries of the death.

Links:
http://www.religioustolerance.org/confuciu.htm
http://www.confucius.org/main01.htm
http://www.friesian.com/
http://www.cifnet.com/
http://www.human.toyogakuen-u.ac.jp/
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04223b.htm

 

Confucianism

Article written by Judith A. Berling for the Asia Society's Focus on Asian Studies, Vol. II, No. 1 Asian Religions, pp. 5-7, Fall 1982. Copyright AskAsia, 1996.

Confucianism is often characterized as a system of social and ethical philosophy rather than a religion. In fact, Confucianism built on an ancient religious foundation to establish the social values, institutions, and transcendent ideals of traditional Chinese society. It was what sociologist Robert Bellah called a "civil religion,"1 the sense of religious identity and common moral understanding at the foundation of a society's central institutions. It is also what a Chinese sociologist called a "diffused religion";3 its institutions were not a separate church, but those of society, family, school, and state; its priests were not separate liturgical specialists, but parents, teachers, and officials. Confucianism was part of the Chinese social fabric and way of life; to Confucians, everyday life was the arena of religion.

The founder of Confucianism, Master Kong (K'ung, Confucius, 551-479 B.C.) did not intend to found a new religion, but to interpret and revive the unnamed religion of the Zhou (Chou) dynasty, under which many people thought the ancient system of religious rule was bankrupt; why couldn't the gods prevent the social upheavals? The burning issue of the day was: If it is not the ancestral and nature spirits, what then is the basis of a stable, unified, and enduring social order? The dominant view of the day, espoused by Realists and Legalists, was that strict law and statecraft were the bases of sound policy. Confucius, however, believed that the basis lay in Zhou religion, in its rituals (li). He interpreted these not as sacrifices asking for the blessings of the gods, but as ceremonies performed by human agents and embodying the civilized and cultured patterns of behavior developed through generations of human wisdom. They embodied, for him, the ethical core of Chinese society. Moreover, Confucius applied the term "ritual" to actions beyond the formal sacrifices and religious ceremonies to include social rituals: courtesies and accepted standards of behavior -- what we today call social mores. He saw these time-honored and traditional rituals as the basis of human civilization, and he felt that only a civilized society could have a stable, unified, and enduring social order.

Thus one side of Confucianism was the affirmation of accepted values and norms of behavior in primary social institutions and basic human relationships. All human relationships involved a set of defined roles and mutual obligations; each participant should understand and conform to his/her proper role. Starting from individual and family, people acting rightly could reform and perfect the society. The blueprint of this process was described in "The Great Learning, " a section of the Classic of Rituals:

Only when things are investigated is knowledge extended; only when knowledge is extended are thoughts sincere; only when thoughts are sincere are minds rectified; only when minds are rectified are the characters of persons cultivated; only when character is cultivated are our families regulated; only when families are regulated are states well governed; only when states are well governed is there peace in the world.3

Confucius' ethical vision ran against the grain of the legalistic mind set of his day. Only under the Han Emperor Wu (r. 140-87 B.C.) did Confucianism become accepted as state ideology and orthodoxy. From that time on the imperial state promoted Confucian values to maintain law, order, and the status quo. In late traditional China, emperors sought to establish village lectures on Confucian moral precepts and to give civic awards to filial sons and chaste wives. The imperial family and other notables sponsored the publication of morality books that encouraged the practice of Confucian values: respect for parents, loyalty to government, and keeping to one's place in society -- farmers should remain farmers, and practice the ethics of farming. This side of Confucianism was conservative, and served to bolster established institutions and long-standing social divisions.

There was, however, another side to Confucianism. Confucius not only stressed social rituals (li), but also humaneness (ren [jen]). Ren, sometimes translated love or kindness, is not any one virtue, but the source of all virtues. The Chinese character literally represents the relationship between "two persons," or co-humanity -- the potential to live together humanely rather than scrapping like birds or beasts. Ren keeps ritual forms from becoming hollow; a ritual performed with ren has not only form, but ethical content; it nurtures the inner character of the person, furthers his/her ethical maturation. Thus if the "outer" side of Confucianism was conformity and acceptance of social roles, the "inner" side was cultivation of conscience and character. Cultivation involved broad education and reflection on one's actions. It was a lifetime commitment to character building carving and polishing the stone of one's character until it was a lustrous gem. Master Kong described his own lifetime:

At fifteen, I set my heart on learning. At thirty, I was firmly established. At forty, I had no more doubts. At fifty, I knew the will of heaven. At sixty, I was ready to listen to it. At seventy, I could follow my heart's desire without transgressing what was right. Analects, 2:4

The inner pole of Confucianism was reformist, idealistic, and spiritual. It generated a high ideal for family interaction: members were to treat each other with love, respect, and consideration for the needs of all. It prescribed a lofty ideal for the state: the ruler was to be a father to his people and look after their basic needs. It required officials to criticize their rulers and refuse to serve the corrupt. This inner and idealist wing spawned a Confucian reformation known in the West as Neo-Confucianism. The movement produced reformers, philanthropists, dedicated teachers and officials, and social philosophers from the eleventh through the nineteenth centuries.

The idealist wing of Confucianism had a religious character. Its ideals were transcendent, not in the sense that they were otherworldly (the Confucians were not interested in a far-off heavenly realm), but in the sense of the transcendent ideal -- perfection. On the one hand, Confucian values are so closely linked with everyday life that they sometimes seem trivial. Everyday life is so familiar that we do not take its moral content seriously. We are each a friend to someone, or a parent, or certainly the child of a parent. On the other hand, Confucians remind us that the familiar ideals of friendship, parenthood, and filiality are far from trivial; in real life we only rarely attain these ideals. We all too often just go through the motions, too preoccupied to give our full attention to the relationship. If we consistently and wholeheartedly realized our potential to be the very best friend, parent, son, or daughter humanly possible, we would establish a level of caring, of moral excellence, that would approach the utopian. This is Confucian transcendence: to take the actions of everyday life seriously as the arena of moral and spiritual fulfillment.4

The outer and inner aspects of Confucianism -- its conforming and reforming sides -- were in tension throughout Chinese history. Moreover, the tensions between social and political realities and the high-minded moral ideals of the Confucians were an ongoing source of concern for the leaders of this tradition. The dangers of moral sterility and hypocrisy were always present. Confucianism, they knew well, served both as a conservative state orthodoxy and a stimulus for reform. Great Confucians, like religious leaders everywhere, sought periodically to revive and renew the moral, intellectual, and spiritual vigor of the tradition.. Until the 1890s, serious-minded Chinese saw Confucianism, despite its failures to realize its ideal society, as the source of hope for China and the core of what it meant to be Chinese.

Although since the revolution, the public ideology of the People's Republic has abandoned Confucian teachings, one can say that there is a continuity of form: like Confucianism before it, Maoism teaches a commitment to transforming the world by applying the lessons of a utopian ideology to the actions and institutions of everyday life. This is not to claim that Mao was a "closet Confucian," but to emphasize that the Confucian way was virtually synonymous with the Chinese way. Both Confucianism and Maoism are uniquely Chinese.

Notes

  1. See The Broken Covenant: American Civil Religion in a Time of Trial, New York: Seabury Press, 1975.

  2. C. K. Yang, Religion in Chinese Society, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1961, pp. 20-21.

  3. Excerpted and adapted from de Bary, Sources, I: 115-16.

  4. For a somewhat fuller philosophical (but readable) discussion, see Herbert Fingarette, Confucius -- The Secular as Sacred, New York: Harper and Row, 1972, chapter one.

For Further Reference

Kitagawa, Joseph. Religions of the East, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1968. Excellent chapter on Chinese religions and the family system.

Mote, Frederick. Intellectual Foundations of China, New York: Knopf, 1971. Short, and excellent on social and historical context of Zhou period.

Tu Wei-ming. "Perceptions of Adulthood in Confucianism," Daedalus 105(1976): 109-124. Adult reading, but an excellent interpretation of Confucianism in the light of Western interests in maturity.

Teaching Resources

Filmstrip: "Confucius and the Peaceful Empire," Asian Man: China, Encyclopedia Britannica Education Corporation.

Filmstrip: "Confucianism and Taoism," World's Great Religions Series, Part III (Time-Life, 1964)

Instructional Units developed by secondary teachers during Indiana Religion Studies Project Institute. Available from Indiana Religion Studies Project, Indiana University, Department of Religious Studies, Sycamore 230, Bloomington, Indiana, 47405.

High School:
"The Development of Traditional Chinese Culture: 2000 B.C.-600 A.D.," by Ann Hoffman.

"Chung Kuo, the Middle Kingdom: Development of Traditional China," by William J. Kiddle, Jr.

Middle School:
"An Introduction to Religions of the Far East: Confucianism, Shintoism, Taoism, Hinduism, and Buddhism," by Elaine Diamond.

Note: The reader may note some alternate spellings for the same terms. These result from the use of different orthographies; e.g., Sakyamuni/Shakyamuni; also from the use of the same term in different languages: e.g., Amidha Buddha, an Indian name, becomes Amida Buddha in Japan.

Note: This article and the one on Taoism were written during the Indiana Religion Studies Project Institute for Teaching about Religion in the Secondary Social Studies Curriculum. The drafts were critiqued by the social studies teachers who attended with an eye to supplementing and correcting the information in textbooks and other materials used by teachers. The two articles should read as a pair; they complement each other in much the same way these two religions complemented each other throughout Chinese history.

Ed. note: The extent to which both Confucianism and Maoism continue to influence contemporary China is a subject of scholarly interpretation. For different views on this question, see Meisner, Maurice, Mao's China: A History of the People's Republic, Free Press 1977, and Harding, Harry, Organizing China: The problem of Bureaucracy, 1949-1976, Stanford University Press, 1981.

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

Here is the extraordinary person who dedicated his life to teaching the world about Krishna consciousness, ancient India's most noble message of spiritual wisdom.

Srila Prabhupada wrote more than forty volumes of translation and commentary on such classics as Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana), Chaitanya Charitamrita, and the Bhagavad-gita.

He wrote not only as a scholar but as a consummate practitioner. He taught not only through his writings but by the example of his life.

Throughout his works, Srila Prabhupada's mood was to convey the natural meaning of the scriptures without far-fetched interpretations, giving us an authentic rendition of the Vedic conclusions on such important topics as the purpose of human life, the nature of the soul, consciousness, and God.

In 1965, on behalf of a distinguished line of masters dating back thousands of years, Srila Prabhupada sailed from India to New York at the age of 69 to share Lord Krishna's message. He brought with him nothing more than the clothes on his back, a box of books, and $7 worth of change. In the years that followed, he traveled and taught throughout the world, opened 108 temples, and formed the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

Though no longer physically present among us, he lives forever in his books, and in the hearts of those whose lives he touched.

Teachings

Welcome to Krishna's world. Here you'll learn all about Krishna and the knowledge He gives.

You already know a lot about Krishna's world, or at least one part of it: the material world. You don't need an invitation to that world; you're already here. But we'd like to introduce you to Krishna's other world, the spiritual one, where you can discover full knowledge and deep, eternal happiness.

Read on, or browse the Teachings Index, a list of all the articles in this section.

  1. Before Taking Another Step, You Ought to Know…
  2. Krishna
  3. Radha, Love Personified
  4. What's So Special About This Knowledge?
  5. Where Are You Getting This Knowledge From?
  6. Freedom Through Knowledge
  7. You've Got to Get This: You're Not the Body
  8. True Teachers
  9. Soul-Nurturing Diet for the Body
  10. Selfless, Ecstatic Love
  11. Be With God Now
  12. Books That Go As Deep As You Can Go

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