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Chinese literature is some of the most imaginative and interesting in the world.

The
precision of the language results in perfectly realized images whether in poetry or
prose and, as with all great literature from any culture, the themes are timeless. The
Chinese valued literature highly and had a god of literature in their pantheon named Wen
Chang (also known as Wendi, Wen Ti). Wen Chang kept track of all the writers
in China and what they produced to reward to punish them according to how well or poorly
they had used their talents. This god was thought to have once been a man named Zhang
Ya, a brilliant writer who drowned himself after a disappointment and was deified. He
presided not only over written works and writers but over Chinese script itself.

Ancient Chinese script evolved from the practice of divination during the Shang
Dynasty (1600-1046 BCE). The pictographs made on oracle bones by diviners became
the script known as Jiaguwen (c. 1600-1000 BCE) which developed into Dazhuan (c.
1000-700 BCE), Xiaozhuan (700 BCE - present), and Lishu (the so-called "Clerky Script",
c. 500 BCE). From these also developed Kaishu, Xingshu, and Caoshu, cursive scripts
which writers later used in prose, poetry, and other kinds of artistic works.

Exactly when writing was first used in China is not known since most writing would have
been done on perishable materials like wood, bamboo, or silk. Scholar Patricia
Buckley Ebrey writes, "In China, as elsewhere, writing, once adopted has profound
effects on social and cultural processes (26)." The bureaucracy of China came to rely on
written records but eventually writing was used for self-expression to create some of the
greatest literature in the world. Paper was invented in c. 105 BCE during the Han
Dynasty(206 BCE-220 CE), and the process of woodblock printing developed during
the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE), and by that time China had already developed an
impressive body of literary works.

Buddhism
Siddhartha Gautama

- The father of Buddhism


- Was born around 563 B.C. in Nepal
- At 29yrs old Siddhartha Gautama, while sitting under the bo tree, he experienced
The Great Awakening. Gautama was gone and would now be known as the
Buddha. The Buddha began Buddhism and taught it to anyone who would listen.
- He was teaching a religion that was devoid of:
Authority
Ritual
Tradition
Supernatural
- Buddhas key discovery is known as the Four Noble Truths.
The first truth is Dukka, which refers to life's suffering. Buddha believed that
the pains we feel in life could be cured through Buddhism.
The second truth is Tanha, which translates to the desire for private
fulfillment.
The third truth is the cure for Tanha. Not the real cure though, just the
knowledge, and understanding that there is a cure.
The fourth truth is the real cure for Tanah. It comes in the form of the Eight
Fold Path (Right knowledge, aspiration, speech, behavior, livelihood, effort,
mindfulness, absorption)
If you follow the Four Noble truths you could reach Nirvana. Which is the
ultimate goal for every Buddhist.

Confucianism
Confucius

- The father of Confucianism


- was born around 551 B.C.in what is now the Shantung Province
- had Five Ideals that guided his thoughts:
Jen: Is the ideal way for one to carry oneself through life. Measure the
feeling of others by ones own.
Chu Tzu: If Jen is how a person should be, then Chu Tzu is how a person
should act.
Li: The propriety- The way things should be done. It is the way you should
act in whatever role you play in life.
Te: Translates to Power. How the people with power, use it. For a person
to be a great leader his followers must choose to follow him.
Wen: Victory goes to the state with the highest culture. Art has the power
to ennoble the human spirit.

Taoism
Lao Tzu

- Was born around 640 B.C.


- Lao Tzu was not pleased with his people, so he left and went on a journey. He was
asked to leave a record of his beliefs with his civilization. It took him three days to
complete 5000 characters entitled the Tao Te Ching. The Tao Te Ching is in effect
the Taoist bible.
There are three meanings of Tao
- The way to ultimate reality. This Tao is way to vast for a person to comprehend or
fathom.
- The way of the universe. The norm, the rhythm, and the driving power in all of
nature. Deals more with the spiritual side then the Physical side of things.
- The way of human life. It refers to the way that we mesh with the Tao of the
universe.
Three types of Taoism:

- Philosophical Taoism
Is a reflective look at life
Relatively unorganized
Teaches what you should understand
You work on improving yourself
Seeks power through knowledge
Sought to conserve te and not to expend is on friction and conflict.
Associated Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, and Tao Te Ching
Wu Wei- The perfect way to live life, and reduce conflict and friction
- Religious or Popular Taoism
Became a full fledge church
Its programs are active
The Taoist priesthood made cosmic life-power available for ordinary
villagers.
Their power was with magic, the harnessed higher powers for human ends.
Want to help transmit Chi to people that cannot get it on their own.
- Vitalizing Taoism
The programs are active
Relatively unorganized
Teaches what you should do.
Is a self help program
You work on improving yourself
Want to increase the amounts of Tao or te in their life
They do this through chi
They want to remove the barriers that slowed the flow of chi
The power of chi
- Philosophical, Religious and Vitalizing Taoism
All center on how to maximize their Tao.
They honor hunchbacks, crippels. Because the tallest tree get the axe first.
Their temples blend in with the landscape. They do not stand out.
They all teach that people will be at their best, when they are living in
harmony with their surroundings.
They consider ceremonies pompous and downright silly.
They feel there is nothing to gain from punctiliousness, and the meticulous
observance of propriety.

- The Taoist believe in opposites, and that things in nature have a way of working
themselves out.

PLANTING A PEAR-TREE

A COUNTRYMAN was one day selling his pears in the market. They were unusually
sweet and fine flavoured, and the price he asked was high. A Taoist[1] priest in rags
and [p 9] tatters stopped at the barrow and begged one of them. The countryman told
him to go away, but as he did not do so he began to curse and swear at him. The
priest said, You have several hundred pears on your barrow; I ask for a single one,
the loss of which, Sir, you would not feel. Why then get angry? The lookers-on told
the country-man to give him an inferior one and let him go, but this he obstinately
refused to do. Thereupon the beadle of the place, finding the commotion too great,
purchased a pear and handed it to the priest. The latter received it with a bow and
turning to the crowd said, We who have left our homes and given up all that is dear
to us[2] are at a loss to understand selfish niggardly conduct in others. Now I have
some exquisite pears which I shall do myself the honour to put before you. Here,
somebody asked, Since you have pears yourself, why dont you eat those?
Because, replied the priest, I wanted one of these pips to grow them from.

So saying he munched up the pear; and when he had finished took a pip in his hand,
unstrapped a pick from his back, and proceeded to make a hole in the ground, several
inches deep, wherein he deposited the pip, filling in the earth as before. He then asked
the bystanders for a little hot water to water it with, and one among them who loved a
joke fetched him some boiling water from a neighbouring shop. The priest poured this
over the place where he had made the hole, and every eye was fixed upon him when
sprouts were seen shooting up, and gradually growing larger and larger. By-and-by,
there was a tree with branches sparsely covered with leaves; then flowers, and last of
all fine, large, sweet-smelling pears hanging in great profusion. These the priest
picked and handed round to the assembled crowd until all were gone, when he took
his pick and hacked away for a long time at the tree, finally cutting it down. This he
shouldered, leaves and all, and sauntered quietly away.

Now, from the very beginning, our friend the countryman had been amongst [p. 10]
the crowd, straining his neck to see what was going on, and forgetting all about his
business. At the departure of the priest he turned round and discovered that every
one of his pears was gone. He then knew that those the old fellow had been giving
away so freely were really his own pears. Looking more closely at the barrow, he also
found that one of the handles was missing, evidently having been newly cut off. Boiling
with rage, he set out in pursuit of the priest, and just as he turned the corner he saw
the lost barrow-handle lying under the wall, being in fact the very pear-tree the priest
had cut down. But there were no traces of the priestmuch to the amusement of the
crowd in the market-place.

1. That is, of the religion of Tao, a system of philosophy founded some six centuries
before the Christian era by a man named Lao-tzu, Old boy, who was said to have
been born with white hair and a beard. It is now but a shadow of its former self,
and is corrupted by the grossest forms of superstition borrowed from Buddhism,
which has in its turn adopted many of the forms and beliefs of Taoism, so that the
two religions are hardly distinguishable one from the other.
What seemed to me the most singular circumstance connected with the
matter, was the presence of half a dozen Taoist priests, who joined in all the
ceremonies doing everything that the Buddhist priests did, and presenting very odd
appearance, with their top-knots and cues, among their closely shaven Buddhist
brethren. It seemed strange that the worship of Sakyamuni by celibate Buddhist
priests, with shaved heads, into which holes were duly burned at their initiation,
should be participated in by married Taoist Priests, whose heads are not wholly
shaven, and have never been burned.Initiation of Buddhist Priests at Kooshan,
by S. L. B. Taoist priests are credited with a knowledge of alchemy and the black
art in general.

2. A celibate priesthood belongs properly to Buddhism, and is not a doctrine of the


Taoist church.
Sources:

[1] Violatti, C. (2015). Ancient Chinese Philosophy. Retrieved from


http://www.ancient.eu/Chinese_Philosophy/

[2] Tendero, E.V. & Mora, H.S. (2010). The World Masterpiece in Literature. Malabon
City, Philippines: Mutya Publishing House Inc.