Religion and culture of medieval China

Religion and culture of medieval China

In the middle of the 1st millennium BC. e. among the Chinese leaders Buddhism spread. The common people preferred Taoism – a religion that upheld equality, condemned the craving for power, wealth and glory, promised immortality. But the most influential in the country was Confucianism, which turned into a kind of religion. The Chinese sought, as advised by Confucius, to be merciful, not to do evil to others, to take care of the public interest, respectfully respect the elders, especially to the parents. Turning these rules of conduct into an immutable law, the Chinese made their existence more or less orderly.

Gradually, Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism merged in China into one religion. Every Chinese was a little Buddhist, a little Taoist, but most of all he was a Confucian.

The

state took care of education, because it needed competent officials. Educated was the one who knew how to read, write, count, shoot from the bow, rule the chariot, knew rituals and music. In some monasteries they taught martial arts.

The Chinese have achieved great success in mathematics, astronomy, medicine. They invented gunpowder, a compass and a seismograph. In the IX century. In China, the first book – “Diamond Sutra” was printed with the help of stamps with convex hieroglyphs. The first newspaper appeared, huge libraries were opened. From the humanities in China, history and geography developed. In the XV century. a grandiose encyclopedia was compiled – more than 11 thousand volumes, which in general numbered more than 900 thousand pages.

China is full of Pagodas, Buddhist and Taoist temples. The Buddhist temple of the “Cave of Thousand Buddhas”, which consisted of almost 500 caves, decorated frescoes with a total length of 25 kilometers! Painting on silk was common. Chinese masters became famous for their products from bronze and porcelain.

Chinese traveler Xuan Zang learned that in one of the “Caves of a Thousand Buddhas” one can sometimes see the shadow of a Buddha. He entered this cave. Its walls seemed bare. But when Xuan Zang began to pray and

beat his bows, the whole cave suddenly shone, and on its eastern wall a yellow-red Buddha image actually appeared… This “miracle” is explained simply. When you get into the dark cave from the bright sunlight, the frescoes, until they get used to the eye, remain invisible and “manifest” only after a certain time. This light effect was skillfully used by ancient artists. He gives the painting “Caves of a thousand Buddhas” a special fascination.

In the Middle Ages, the Chinese also invented matches, sunglasses, kites and balls, umbrellas for rain protection, playing cards, etc.

High achievements of Chinese culture were borrowed by the Japanese, Vietnamese, Koreans, Mongols. They considered knowledge of the Chinese language and culture as the main evidence of education and scholarship.

Seismograph – an instrument for determining the oscillations of the earth’s crust during an earthquake.

The Pagoda is a tower-like, multi-tiered Buddhist sanctuary.


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Religion and culture of medieval China