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As such, it includes an introduction giving an overview of the subject, and the special themes treated in the book, as well as detailed chapters on ancient religions, Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Chinese Islam, Christianity in China as well as popular religion.
Recognized as one of the greatest philosophers in classical China, Chu Hsi (1130-1200) is known in the West primarily through translations of one of his many works, the Chin-ssu Lu. In this book, Julia Ching offers the first book-length examination of Chu Hsi's religious thought, based on extensive reading of both primary and secondary sources. Ching begins by providing an introduction to Chu's twelfth-century intellectual context. She then examines Chu's natural philosophy, looking in particular at the ideas of the Great Ultimate and at spirits and deities and the rituals that honor them. Next, Ching considers Chu's interpretation of human nature and the emotions, highlighting the mystical thrust of the theoretical and practical teachings of spiritual cultivation and meditation. She discusses Chu's philosophical disputes with his contemporariesin particular Lu Chiu-yuanand examines his relationship to Buddhism and Taoism. In the final chapters, Ching looks at critiques of Chu during his lifetime and after and evaluates the relevance of his thinking in terms of contemporary needs and problems. This clearly written and highly accessible study also offers translations of some of Chu's most important philosophical poems, filling a major gap in the fields of both Chinese philosophy and religion.
Confucius (551-479 BCE) taught a moral wisdom that would become a predominant social force in China from the second century BCE until the mid twentieth century. Confucianism does not teach a central doctrine that a God or gods should be worshipped, but it does embrace a system of ritual and emphasizes humanistic virtues and values. Taoism is both a philosophy and a religion, seeking a life and a mind in harmony with nature. Yin and yang, the essential opposites, are seen as fundamental principles of the universe in many religious and philosophical discussions.The Religion, Scriptures, and Spirituality series describes the beliefs, religious practices, and the spiritual and moral commitments of the world's great religious traditions. It also describes a religion's way of understanding scripture, identifies its outstanding thinkers, and discusses its attitude and relationship to society.