Chinese philosophy and religion [ç-]. Chinese philosophy is characterized by its basic concern, the position of people in society, and thus also by its great closeness to reality. This corresponds to the clear argumentation with allusions to historical events as well as anecdotes and stories. In addition, the language-related aversion to a deductive type of presentation that cannot be fully implemented in Chinese (it is very difficult to separate abstract terms from their concrete equivalents) and instead the preference for category systems that can be visually represented in tables, graphic schemes and “tables”. Characteristic for this is the divination book Yijing (also Yi-jing, I-ching, I Ching, »Book of Changes«), which was interpreted philosophically at an early stage and which symbolizes numerological system and until modern times was considered a kind of scientific axiom of all thought. The conviction documented therein of an all-creating and pervasive action of two primal forces, yin and yang, which were later related to five “active forces” or elements (earth, wood, metal, fire, water), is ultimately also behind the dominant idea of Universism: According to her, man and the cosmos form a unit in which each part reacts to all others. See mcat-test-centers for higher education in China.
Philosophical thinking in the narrower sense began with Kongzi (Master Kong, Latinized Confucius), who with his humanistic, consciously agnosticistic attitude towards everything supernatural, detached himself from the mythological-religious sphere (Confucianism). His doctrine of virtue distinguishes between inner “humanity” (Ren, Jen) and outer morality (Li) of the “noble” (Junzi) he addressed and thus led to different accentuations among his successors: Mengzi (Meng-tzu, Meister Meng, Latinized Menzius) understood moral education as the uncovering of natural good dispositions, Xunzi (Hsün-tzu, Master Xun) as the taming of the originally “bad” nature of man (“noble”) by the moral rules that work inwardly. Confucian humanism triggered various counter-reactions: against the humanization of nature, Daoism defended its world principle (Dao), which cannot be explained by humans and which requires a natural, spontaneous attitude (Wuwei, Wu-wei, “not doing”). Daoist classics are the text collection Zhuangzi (Zhuang-zi, Chuang-tzu, “Master Zhuang”), that of the Laozi (Lao-tzu, Laotse, “Old Master”) ascribed to Daodejing (Dao-de-jing, Tao-te-ching, Tao-te-king, “Book of the Way and Virtue”) and the Liezi collection of texts (Lie-zi, Lieh-tzu, “Master Lie”). In contrast to the “humanity” (family ethics) graded according to social proximity in Confucianism, the school of Mo Di (Mo Ti) preached a utilitarian, more “socialist” oriented “general love” (Jianai, Jian-ai, Chien-ai). In Mo Di there are also approaches to a – but later not further developed – logic theory, which was primarily used as a defense against the previously developed sophistic “conceptual school” (Mingjia, Ming-jia, Ming-chia). Finally, the school of legalists (Fajia, Fa-jia, Fa-chia, “Law School”) (most important representatives Han Feizi, Han Fei-tzu and Shang Yang) advocated the principle of a downright mystical criminal law, which, like a natural law made by man, should regulate society independently. After only a short period of supremacy of this school under the Qin dynasty, Confucianism became popular in the 2nd century BC. Under the Han dynasty the official philosophy of the state. But under the influence of other philosophies – v. a. the Yin-Yang and Five Element Schools with their cosmological speculations, e.g. B. at Dong Zhongshu (Tung Chung-shu) as well as later under the influence of Daoism, which developed into the great philosophical counter-draft of Confucianism – major changes and produced numerous commentaries, even apocryphal “classics” with some prophetic content (Chenwei books, Ch’an wei books; apocryphal, prognostic texts). This also includes the “mystical school” (Xuanxue, Xuan-xue, Hsüan-hsüeh, “dark school”). Century developed a highly theorized ontology (Guo Xiang, Kuo Hsiang). It was possibly already under the indirect influence of Buddhism, which penetrated China in the 1st century and gave Chinese philosophy a completely new impetus with a very large number of texts translated into Chinese. The schools of Tiantai (Tian-tai, T’ien-t’ai), Huayan (Hua-yan, Hua-yen), Jing-tu (Ching-t’u, “school of the pure land”, ie of the Paradise) and Chan (Ch’an, ie the »meditation school«, Zen in Japanese); but there were also numerous mixed forms. From v. a. For economic, fiscal reasons (tax exemption of the monasteries) pushed back by the state since the 9th century, Buddhism made itself indirectly in the again strengthening Confucianism, z. B. through the emphasis on cosmological and ontological questions, noticeable. Among the various directions of Neoconfucianism, the “realistic” Li school should be emphasized on the one hand. She was a. through Cheng Yi (Ch’eng I) and Zhu Xi (Chu Hsi) represented and adopted an ethically applied principle of order (Li) in the outside and inside world, which through conscious “learning” in the written Confucian tradition and in the discussion to correspond to reality. In contrast, the “idealistic” school Xin (Hsin), represented by Cheng Hao (Ch’eng Hao), Lu Jiuyuan (Lu Chi-yüan, * 1139, † 1193), Wang Shouren (Wang Yangming), on the assumption that all knowledge and moral perfection can be found through introspection in one’s own “heart” (Xin / Hsin). Since the 17th century, increasingly critical voices rose against neoconfucianism, which used philological arguments against the texts used by it (Dai Zhen, Tai Chen), but thereby unintentionally undermining the authority of Confucianism in general and thus preparing the penetration of Western systems of thought (Kang Youwei, K’ang Yu-wei and Liang Qichao, Liang Ch’i-ch’ao). In the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, the Western thinking conveyed by the Jesuit mission was only adopted selectively and without broad impact; Since the end of the 19th century, it has gained importance in politically and socially applicable forms (e.g. social Darwinism, pragmatism, anarchism) and has been in demand since the May Fourth Movement From 1919 Confucianism and at the same time the entire traditional Chinese philosophy vehemently in the background. Marxism only received attention from the Russian October Revolution (1917). After a national revival of Confucianism had been attempted in the 1920s and early 1930s under the catchphrase »New Life«, the People’s Republic of China had been facing the problem of evaluating traditional Chinese philosophy in relation to Marxist ideology or to the » Thinking of Mao Zedong «. The positions ranged from their defense (Feng Youlan, Feng Yu-lan) to their re-accentuation (Hou Wailu, Hou Wai-lu, * 1903, † 1987) to their total rejection (Ai Siqi, Ai Ssu-ch’i, * 1910, † 1966). The discussion that was interrupted during the Cultural Revolution (1965 / 66–69 and 1965 / 66–76) was taken up again and received new accents (as at the beginning of the 20th century), especially through Chinese philosophy students abroad.
The religion Developed in China in parallel to, but at the same time – as a specialty – also in the opposite direction to philosophy, since Confucianism, the dominant worldview, basically took an agnostic position, at most accepted the ritual-aesthetic point of view in the religious and all other aspects of the religious in the field of superstition. At the beginning of the historical period (around the 16th century BC), however, two religious areas can be identified that basically always retained their importance: 1) Ancestor worship with the figure of a “highest deified” ti) at the top, 2) the worship of nature with the belief in deities in the vicinity of various places (namely mountains and rivers) and things (sun, moon and stars, trees, stones, etc.), among which the earth deity and the sky deity were of particular importance. The connection to the world of the supernatural was established partly by oracle priests and partly by shamans. However, both lost since the beginning of the 1st millennium BC. Their power when the ruler himself took over essential cultic functions (heavenly sacrifices). The rationalization that began with it, which was then taken up by Confucianism and pushed further and further, did not, however, prevent the original religious ideas from continuing to exist below the scholarly class, where they were taken up especially by Daoism. Daoism also developed the belief in the possibility of a long (not necessarily “eternal”) life, in which people become “geniuses” (Xian / Hsien) and with the simultaneous acquisition of supernatural abilities (namely flying) should take on god-like traits. The endeavors in the art of life extension were carried out in the context of body yoga (breathing exercises, dietetics, sexual practices, Pengzu), alchemy (since the 3rd century AD) and meditation.
On the other hand, Confucianism, as a “state ideology”, had been fulfilling since the 2nd century BC. Mainly ritual functions. However, he also initially developed messianic ideas with Confucius as the deified world redeemer, possibly under the influence of Daoism, in which Laozi played the same role. The penetration of Buddhism not only brought an abundance of foreign forms of religion that arose in South and Central Asia to China, but also changed Daoism decisively, both internally (e.g. systematized concepts of heaven and hell) and externally (monasteries, Church Education; Zhang Daoling). Religious Daoism, although it was always in competition with Buddhism, was generally open to foreign religions and formed numerous hybrid forms with them. In principle less state-affirming than Confucianism, it motivated many “secret societies” and some religious, even eschatologically oriented, periodic popular uprisings that played a role until the recent past (“Boxer Rebellion”, 1900). The mixture of closeness to the people, belief in miracles and a tendency to rebellion, which is characteristic of the Chinese religion, was even found in the cultural revolution, which suppressed all religious life. The new religious tolerance since 1977/78 is largely motivated by international consideration, But it is also (as in the past) limited by mistrust of the “withdrawing / subversive”, which the state suspects in the religious and makes control appear necessary. (Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism)