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published: 1/20/05
updated: 6/17/14

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Chinese Religious Beliefs

What are Chinese religious beliefs?

Chinese New Year

Chinese religious beliefs are wide-ranging and eclectic, deriving from several eastern religious traditions (e.g. Chinese folk religion, Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism). Although there are overlapping beliefs with other world religions, especially from the East, like particular ideas about the afterlife or a spiritual realm, other concepts are unique to the syncretistic expressions of Chinese religion.

The worldview found in Chinese religion is generally dualistic, emphasizing the two opposed and complimentary principles of the universe: yin and yang (see article below). But the yin and yang are the double manifestation of the single, eternal cosmic principal: the Tao (see article below). Also important is the concept of heaven (T'ien), which is sometimes described in terms of an impersonal power or fate, other times as a personal deity, and can also be equated with the Tao (see article below).

For more information on Chinese religious beliefs, follow a link below.

The Afterlife in Chinese Religion

The Chinese conception of the afterlife is based on a combination of Chinese folk religions, Taoism and Mahayana Buddhism.

Chinese Belief of Body and Soul

In Chinese thinking, everything that exists flows out of the Tao, and human beings are simply a tiny component of the Tao.

Ch'i in Chinese religion

Ch'i (also spelled Chi or Qi) is a fundamental concept in Chinese philosophy and culture.

Buddhist Deities

Chinese Buddhism has many beliefs in common with other forms of Mahayana Buddhism, including many of the same bodhisattvas and other religious figures.

Folk Deities

One common type of Chinese deity is the "place god" or T'u-ti (Pinyin: Tudi).

Chinese belief in Ghosts and Spirits

In Chinese thought, the world is populated by a vast number of spirits, both good and evil.

Heaven in Chinese religious belief

The idea of Heaven (T'ien) plays a prominent role in indigenous Chinese religion.

Tao in Chinese religion

The Tao is the central principle of Taoism and is highly influential throughout Chinese thought.

Yin and Yang

In Chinese and other Eastern thought, yin and yang are the two opposing and complementary forces that make up all phenomena of life.

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