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Religions & Beliefs

China is a country with a great diversity of religions, with over 100 million followers of the various faiths. The main religions Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, although it is true to say that Confucianism is a school of philosophy rather than a religion.

Generally speaking, Chinese people do not have a strong religious inclination but despite this the three main faiths have had a considerable following. The fact that Confucianism is a philosophy rather than religion meant that it became the orthodox doctrine for Chinese intellectuals in the days of the feudalist society. However, these intellectuals did not stick to their doctrine as a believer clings to his belief. Someone summarized the true attitude of Chinese intellectuals as - they followed the teachings of Confucius and Mencius when they were successful but would turn to Taoism when they were frustrated.

Buddhism was introduced to China from India approximately in the 1st century AD, becoming increasingly popular and the most influential religion in China after the 4th century. Tibetan Buddhism, as a branch of Chinese Buddhism, is popular primarily in Tibet and Inner Mongolia. Now China has more than 13,000 Buddhist temples.

Many people say they are Buddhists yet have never read the sutras. Most people will say they believe in gods, destiny, fate, luck and an afterlife. Even so, on most occasions, rather than rely on prayer, people will make decisions all by themselves or resort to either family or friends for help. A visible human being is considered far more reliable than invisible gods or spirits.

China's indigenous Taoism, along with Shamanism, Eastern Orthodox hristianity and the Naxi people's Dongba religion. The Hui, Uygur, Kazak, Kirgiz, Tatar, Ozbek, Tajik, Dongxiang, Salar and Bonan peoples adhere to Islam; the Tibetan, Mongolian, Lhoba, Moinba, Tu and Yugur peoples, to Tibetan Buddhism (also known as Lamaism); and the Dai, Blang and Deang peoples to Theravada Buddhism. Quite a few Miao, Yao and Yi people are Christians. Religious Han Chinese tend to practice Buddhism, Christianity or Taoism.

Islam probably first reached China in the mid-7th century. The Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) witnessed the zenith of prosperity of Islam. Now China has more than 30,000 mosques. Catholic influence reached China several times after the seventh century, and Protestantism was introduced into China in the early 19th century. Now there are more than 4,600 Catholic churches and over 12,000 Protestant churches and over 25,000 other types of protestant places of worship in China.

Taoism probably took shape as a religion during the second century, based on the philosophy of Lao Zi (traditionally said to be born in 604 BC) and his work, the Dao De Jing (Classic of the Way and Virtue). China now has more than 1,500 Taoist temples.

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Mufti Menhuan

Niujie Mosque

Nanguan Mosque of Linxia City

Nanguan Mosque

Muslim Neighborhood

Phoenix Mosque

Sun Simiao - A Taoist Who Compiled the World's First National Pharmacopoeia

Arts of Necromancy, Astrology, and Medicine, etc.

Joss Sticks Time and Temple Fair

Lao Zi - the Founder of Taoism

Taoist Trinity -- Three Supreme Gods

Local Numen - Gnome

Master Embracing Simplicity

Meeting the Jade Emperor

Purity and Tranquility, Non-Interference

Qiu Chuji - A Noted Figure in the Taoist History

The Queen Mother of the West -- the Wife of the Jade Emperor

Revised Dao Zang in the Ming Dynasty

Daily Etiquettes

Scripture of the Yellow Court

The Rite of Taking Part in Taoism

Grand White -- the Legate of the Jade Emperor

The God that Catches Ghosts - Zhong Kui

The God Most Adored - the Jade Emperor

God of Literature -- Numen of Examinations

The Goddess in the South Area - Mazu

Ge Hong - An Early Distinguished Taoist and Scholar

The Gathering of Receiving Gods

Formation and Spread of Taoism in China

Emperor Zhenwu -- Avatar of People's Worship for Stars and Animals

The Eight Immortals

Dunhuang Taoist Canons


Classic of the Way and its Power

Classic of Great Peace

Canons Left Out of Dao Zang

Book of Secret Correspondence

Bird with Human Head -- the Ninth Maiden of the Dark Heavens

Jidu and Fuzhou

Muslim Neighborhood

Zhuang Zi - One of the Founders of Taoist Thought

Zhaijiao Keyi (III)

Zhaijiao Keyi (II)

Zhaijiao Keyi (I)

Wang Chongyang - the Founder of Quanzhen Sect

Supreme Venerable Sovereigns Book of Commandments for Chanting

Theories of Yellow Emperor and Laozi

Tao Scriptures That Are Often Chanted

An Overview of Taoist Sects

Taoist Music

Wudang Martial Arts

Taoist Canon

Taoist Architecture

Taoism and Social Ethics

Taoism and Medicine

Taoism and Folk Customs

Taoism and Astronomical Calendar

Supernatural Being

The Three Ways Unified and Normalized of the Book of Changes

Transmission of Buddhism into Tibet

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