Archive for the ‘English’ Category

Chinese Religion Resources

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Four Spiritual Laws



Jesus Film



New Testament/Bible



Audio Bible

Chinese Folk Religion

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Chinese Folk or Traditional Religion is made up of the elements of animism, polytheism and shamanism. Moreover adding to its religious diversity are the beliefs of Buddhism, Confucianism and Daoist thought of which I have previously written about in other posts.





Regarding this system it has been passed down through ancient societal traditions which has been preserved through the vehicle of experience by various cultural practices as incorporating rituals, ceremonies and holidays or festivals that center on such entities as ancestors, hungry ghosts, demons, gods or spirits, saints, etc. Some of these religious experiences include devotional worship or veneration at shenist temples also called joss houses or deity houses as well as ancestral halls and home alters. Other matters include the reenactment of sacred myths, funeral rites, geomancy or feng-shui, burning incense, offerings, pilgrimages, prayers, vows, home alters, recognition of sacred objects, etc., etc.

Anyway I appreciate the spirituality of my Chinese friends as they are at least sensitive to the metaphysical realm but what I question is their ability to rightly discern this spiritual phenomenon as reality. Thus this post is not meant to insult their intelligence or demean their character as they are some of the most powerful, influential and cordial individuals that I have ever met through my various international contacts and I have a great respect for these people even though I  challenge their religious world view as being valid as an absolute truth.  Additionally these dear and precious people are preserving their interdependent spirit through these religious views as a means of maintaining membership within their society and community in respect to a loyalty towards its specific identity and uniqueness. This solidarity of belief I think has been personified through their religious expressions which carries quite a large influence yet lacks the global impact as limited through their regional views apart from a fully corporate; universal and worldwide application which excludes other foreign cultures which is counterintuitive to their concept of a ‘universal god’. However Christianity relieves this tension stating that God so loved the world in reaching out to every tribe, tongue and nation as evidenced by a global church which makes up about 10% of the great nation of China.

Anyway one of the difficulties of this religion is that it contains primitive mythological language with its obvious and deliberately exaggerated stories of folklore that may to some degree have actually have been centered on certain real events and people which over time was embellished through the unreliable process of oral traditions. This is a common occurrence among religions to elevate their heroes to the stature of greatness or godhood as changing their story over the process of time. This reminds me of the Greek mythological characters of which modern day individuals don’t take seriously. Also we can see evidence of this in Asiatic culture such as within Buddhism in which traditional orthodox beliefs were originally atheistic or at best agnostic yet Buddhists often extoll the Buddha as a god. Next there are such characters as the Baxian or the Eight Immortals who were deified after their death and Cheng Huang or the city gods who are protective deities thought to be famous or noble persons who again were deified after their death and who look after the fortunes of the city as well as judging the dead. Furthermore we recognize this in various Eastern cultures with the vast array of charismatic teachers, gurus, yogis, masters  who are honored in giving rise to various cults as solidifying a dependency from their devotees which often lead to the delusional and fantastical beliefs about their spiritual leader. This kind of reverence or honor is also found among the Chinese who have a spiritual master that teaches developmental techniques of cultivating long life and health through breathing techniques, dietetics, gymnastics an sexual techniques with such body and mind practices as to produce supra normal powers and eventually obtaining salvation as an immortal. It is easy to identify how that these individuals can get so wrapped in a personality’s success as they are given a rock star status as a deva even though essentially they are mere men who are subjected to the same weaknesses, failures and the base functions of life just like everyone else.

Which is a segue to my next point in giving examples of these cultural views which coincides with these fictitious beliefs such as the worship or veneration of legendary beings or persons such as the shens which make up a pantheon of various gods/goddesses/spirits who serve at every level or dimension of society in respect to nature (earth), nation, localities or territories and cities as including cultural heroes and demigods, dragons, ancestors, saints and immortals. I am including a partial list of just some of the names of the characters and their roles. These are similar to the unfounded beliefs about the protective and prosperous powers found in the kami of Shintoism and the saints within Catholicism in which there is this same sort of pattern among deifying mere mortals or imaginary characters:

  • First and foremost is the chief or head deity known as Yuhuang or the Jade Emperor who is commonly called Heaven.
  • Pangu is said to be a creator god who is like a primitive hairy giant with horns on his head and clad in furs. Pangu supposedly separated the Yin from the Yang with a swing of his giant axe, creating the earth and sky which sounds a bit like the Paul Bunyan folk tale that we have here in the US.
  • Guan Yu or Guandi/Guan Gong has influence over the policemen, war, fortune and law as well as showing forgiveness
  • Caishen oversees the gaining and distribution of wealth through fortune.
  • Shoushen stands for a healthy and long life.
  • Fushen symbolizes happiness and joy.
  • Lushen is a god of success in work and life.
  • Huye is a guardian spirit.
  • Mazu is the patroness and goddess of sailors or boatmen.
  • Tudi Gong protects local places such as hills and is associated with wealth as related to minerals and buried treasure.
  • Wenchangdi is the god of student scholars and examinations.
  • Xi Wangmu is considered to be the mother of the Jade emperor and who is said to reign over the paradisiacal mountain and who has the power to make others immortal
  • Yuexia Laoren is a matchmaker who pairs couples.
  • Songzi  Niangniang or Zhusheng Niangniang is the fertility goddess and is worshipped by people who want children or who want their child to be a boy.
  • There are such characters as Zaoshen or Zao Jun  who is said to be the god of the kitchen or lord of the cooking stove and is the spirit overseer of the household as contributing towards a persons life span and longevity. He reports to heaven on the behavior of the family of the house once a year during the Chinese New Year, and is given either sticky rice to render him speech less or honey to sweeten his report. This involves taking the paper icon from above the stove and burning it as sending the message of a smoke signal to heaven. This is followed by a thorough cleaning of the house in which everyone is on their best behavior during the inspection from the celestial deities.
  • Then there is the legend of the weaving maid and the cowherd which this celestial couple can only meet on one night of the year when magpies supposedly form a bridge across the Celestial River or Milky Way. On this day she receives special sacrifices because she is considered a protector of the children.
  • Lastly there is Mulian who is supposedly a monk who visited hell to save his sinful mother as well as other sinful souls.

Anyway these make believe stories have supported the superstitious beliefs within Chinese culture which are much like the Western childhood stories such as the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Furthermore it seems to be a human tendency to gravitate in seeking or worshipping something which often times turns towards the materialistic realm to find a tangible means to identity with an object that is touchable and thus religion wrongfully focuses on the physicality of icons, statues, shrines, amulets, talisman or charms as looking towards a reality in this symbolism which is no more authentic than the fanciful imagination of artists, poets and religious zealots.

These personages may all serve as being practical and purposeful but it does not necessarily correlate with reality as seeing these idols as a lucky charm in meeting the felt needs in attempting to solve the problems of society to somehow manipulate them in order to have a more peaceable and prosperous existence. This may be a way to help control their normal day to day activities in meeting the demands or challenges and desires by making offerings to them or holding beliefs related to their existence however by so doing they have made a god after their own image and likeness which does not facilitate truth except to say that this is what they want to be true. Therfore personal desires do not enter into having a direct correspondence with veracity in that god transcendently exists beyond our personal whims. Perhaps this is an attempt to merge the material and immaterial; the spiritual and natural categories nonetheless this does not guarantee its surety and therefore this application has no real or significant explanatory power and thus misleading.

In regards to the concept of past events many of these stories were developed to help explain unknown natural occurrences giving leeway to the establishment of its unfounded mystical storytelling which has no firm basis for objective truth but rather is established on superstitious beliefs of imagination which carries a strong psychological factor of influence. This is much like the fabled wives tales which were perhaps somehow developed over some sort of coincidental event which caused others to form such ideas that are not factual yet was a means to help alleviate the insecure tension as controlling the unknown or by the mere fascination that comes with mystery and intrigue. This is also a part of modern American culture as people often avoid crossing the path of a black cat or refrain from walking under ladders or breaking a mirror which is said to bring bad luck. These matters are considered as cultural taboos but have no real basis for reality apart from the fearful motivation through the power of suggestion.

Some other superstitious actions within Chinese traditional religion include such things as using firecrackers or bonfires to scare off demons. Offerings and prayers made to deities upon their return from their annual furlough in bringing them good fortune for the New Year. Other actions include eating certain foods for good luck as well as lively colored boat racing to ward off evil spirits and disease. The giving of spirit money to help buy luxuries for their deceased loved ones. As well as how one arranges the furniture in their house.

Other examples is the consumption of strong yellow wine along with a package of calamus, mugwort and banian branches wrapped in lucky red paper and suspended above the gate; colored threads tied around the wrists of children with bags of incense which are hung around the neck to ward off disease causing spirits.

The giving of generous offerings to the Hungry Ghosts which is like a Chinese form of Halloween and includes offering incense sticks, special burial clothes and burning silver paper also known as spirit money. At gateways lamps are hung in which auspicious words are written as well as inviting these Hungry Ghosts to a feeding frenzy by means of a feast where they can eat their fill, even though the food offerings remain untouched, which is said to bring them merit through this religious service.

Then there is Pudu who is said to assist all souls to cross over to the other side of salvation.  Altars are erected and sacrifices offered to poor souls, lanterns are hung from tall beacon posts and pennants are used to guide the spirits to the ritual places; paper and bamboo rafts take candles or small lamps on the waters to help attract the attention of the souls of the drowned. Then on the last day of the month the spirits must return to the subterranean world and the gates are closed for yet another eleven months.

In summary they may succeed through these superstitions to preserve historical traditions, cultural standards, national heritage, societal stability, domestic and generational continuity yet fail to authenticate it as a justifiable system towards reality. There are perhaps Chinese people who don’t take these matters seriously but nonetheless are affectionately and sentimentally attached to these ideologies because of childhood memories and experiences which are near to their hearts which is like some of the celebrations of American society which only has meaning as a cultural event that is centered around family values therefore having no sense of reality.

Also what is controversial about these various beliefs is their dark background as associating with occultist practices as including astrology, spirit mediums, divinations, spirit writing, magicians and healers, dreams, consulting dead ancestors and animals which is proven to be no more effectual than the editorial additions of marketing horoscopes in the local newspapers as generalizing and diagnosing a situation.

Now some of the theological problems center around the subject of death and the afterlife which coincide either with the care given to the deceased or the manner in which one died. The former relates to filial duty and respect on whether or not the corpse was adequately taken care of, with proper provisions for burial and memorial services including the continuance of grave maintenance as well as the sufficient sacrificial nourishment by their patrilineal descendants which is like the ancient Egyptian beliefs in making provision and bringing comfort to their ancestors in the afterlife. If their ancestors are negligible in lacking the proper rituals or if it involves the latter scenario of sustaining a bad or abnormal death the end result would be that these family members will suffer as ghosts and demons even though it is beyond their control in either case. Ironically these catastrophic consequences could offset their personal actions as attempting to gain merit throughout their life only to be annulled by the haphazard neglect of their family members.

This also gives rise to the questionable nature of karmic law which I have previously written about in other posts as involving matters dealing with a previous life of which a person is completely unaware of as needing to right their wrongs without knowing what they did and how much they need to do as a penance to resolve their previous life’s actions. As this belief is not provable it  has served to confuse and oppress a poor soul to suffer from a fatalistic complex as seeing oneself in a condescending and condemning way as accepting or condoning this karmic power in embracing their pain rather than alleviating it. This will also include hindering others to show benevolence towards assisting suffering individuals which may be acting in opposition to karmic retribution.

Another matter of controversy is treating all animals and plants as moral agents who can purify themselves through morality and self-cultivation before and after death  and thereby can ascend the ladder of the spiritual hierarchy as to increase their efficacy and charisma. Yet plants and animals have never been proven or shown to have such conscious abilities thus this concept is no more real than the animation we see on television from cartoon characters or from the  Syfy dramas such as the Planet of the Apes.

Another matter is the inability to prove that reincarnation, rebirth and  a purgatorial realm exists and I am including a video clip from a medical physician who was a former atheist as having a much different view on life after death through near death experiences.

In closing the matter of this religion as being identified as “popular”  deals more with pragmatism than ultimate truth as it handles such matters as the unity of the family including the legacy of their ancestors, protection of their children, longevity, health, blessings and dealing with fear. Yet just because something is considered a popular belief does not mean that it correlates with a valid worldview. For instance in the past when a belief system had failed in Chinese culture then the cult that it supported died out creating a vacuum to form a new one. This kind of subjectivity is also seen in their god concept which means different things for different communities and therefore there is no real sense of absolute truth as it deals with speculative matters based on their communal needs. Conclusively, truth necessarily exists in spite of desires and values making these negotiable postions untenable towards an affirmative reality.

In speaking about fear in the previous paragraph much of what holds a person to the faithfulness of these religious views is the concept of the abiding presence of danger which is operative of many cults which use this same strategy to keep people subjected under their power as maintaining control. This has played out with such ideas as there being resentful ghosts to whom they attempt to bribe or propitiate. This provision of deity support comes out of a fear of retribution towards being neglectful or forgetful about their religious duties and wondering if their petitions will be accepted along with their offering of foods and incense to help avert drought, disease, misfortune, disorder, bad luck, suffering and death in maintaining a harmonious relationship with the unseen world. This sense of dread and worriedness comes through these scare tactics of ghost stories with this portrayal of the restless dead who roam around causing disruption, accidents, illness and it really makes me wonder how sincere and altruistic these followers actually are who may be more motivated out of fear than devotion. This preoccupation with harmful influences can also come through a unfounded paranoia as there being some form of imbalance between the ying and the yang.

In conclusion I do agree with them that there are matters which go beyond merely physical or natural explanations as pointing to a greater and higher reality of which even the mind or conscious innately discerns as a transcendent reality with such matters as moral causality and the grandiose display of nature as representing the teleological design of an omnipotent Creator. .

So I will take this opportunity to propose another truth claim which is not just an attempt to introduce another competing view but rather it is about following truth wherever it may lead you even if it is on the opposite end of your religious spectrum. Likewise perhaps you too have come to question these various and repetitive religious activities as being less than efficacious towards any form of enlightenment in leaving you empty with the inability to satisfy the craving of your soul. Moreover maybe you have become disillusioned with the hype of this salvation as being merited or accrued through self-effort, discipline, meditation, body and spirit possession techniques, personal acts of morality and spirit writing as not really knowing if all your hard labor will really pay off.  Jesus put it this way:



28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”


To begin with you may object or dismiss Christianity as being just some Westernized and foreign influence when in reality it was born as an Eastern religion in coming from an Israeli Asian culture which has now enveloped the world landscape and it has been proven to work as Jesus has changed the hearts and lives of millions of people throughout the ages of times and who have come from all cultures and walks of life. Therefore I am including my testimony along with that of many others.

Lastly I am giving you a bible link and I would encourage you to begin with the Gospel of John. As you read I would simply ask that you meditate or pray to God to simply reveal to you the truth concerning the content of the message in making Jesus personally known to you in such a way so as to believe upon His name. I am hoping and anticipating that there will be some matters in which you can identify with when researching about Jesus as found in the scriptural text and summarized by the following statement:

To start with Jesus is not a statue or figurine that you see on display like a door god in some churches as there is no credible image which can accurately portray His glory and greatness in that He is the Creator of all things including man and that by nature He is both man and God as the chief ancestor of humanity. He serves as a mediator and intercessor on behalf of mankind and His title encompasses the totality of His sovereignty through His rule and reign as the King of kings and Lord of lords who is far above all authorities as He alone is the way, truth and the life.

Jesus is perfect and even though he was tempted with immorality and evil just like we are yet He was without failure. His success and obedience regarding His work and deeds brought eternal merit to all His followers as benefiting from this free gift of salvation which was not accomplished through the rigors of our rituals and practices but rather it is received as trusting in His person and work as we openly confess His name with the promise that those who call upon Him shall be saved. This act of mercy, grace and compassion causes us to become beneficiaries of His great love as we receive the forgiveness from sins or moral failures apart from the wrathful judgment of hell from a holy and righteous God as becoming the heirs of eternal life and immortality in being united with God. In addition to this Jesus has given us everything we need for life and godliness as we gain His peace, joy, and happiness which comes from the intimacy of knowing a personal God as He has conquered death by rising from the dead in declaring His victory over the evils of society as he saves, heals, delivers and protects our spirits/souls as we will ultimately enter His heavenly paradise. So if today you hear his voice I pray that you make a resolution to share in His triumph by receiving this purification which is evidenced as he cleanses a persons heart from all guilt and shame by giving them a new nature by the life force of the Holy Spirit through righteous behavior and actions which honors and pleases God.



How to have a relationship with God

How to know God


Other links




Encyclopedia of Religion Second Edition, copyright 2005 Thomson Gale a part of The Thomson Corporation, Lindsay Jones Editor in Chief, Vol.3, pgs.1605-1606, Daniel L. Overmyer and Joseph A. Adler

Encyclopedia of Religion Second Edition, copyright 2005 Thomson Gale a part of The Thomson Corporation, Lindsay Jones Editor in Chief, Vol.3, pgs.1613-1621, Vincent Goossaert

Encyclopedia of Religion Second Edition, copyright 2005 Thomson Gale a part of The Thomson Corporation, Lindsay Jones Editor in Chief, Vol.3, pgs.1640-1644, Laurence G. Thompson

“From the Handbook of World Religions, published by  Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. ESV Text Edition: 2007