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In what ways have the gods, ancestors, buddhas & bodhisattvas, nature deities, and ghosts reappeared, and how have these reappea - Essay Example

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(Insert (Course) The Revival of the Indigenous Chinese Religions A widespread revival of religious faith has been experienced in China since 1979; the post-Mao period. This revival has been fueled by a number of factors which include; the state lifting the ban to freedom of worship; economic and social uncertainties in the wake of economic reforms and modernization; popular disillusion with the official ideology; and the enduring resilience of religion and tradition (Wellens, 2010, p…
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In what ways have the gods, ancestors, buddhas & bodhisattvas, nature deities, and ghosts reappeared, and how have these reappea
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(Insert The Revival of the Indigenous Chinese Religions A widespread revival of religious faith hasbeen experienced in China since 1979; the post-Mao period. This revival has been fueled by a number of factors which include; the state lifting the ban to freedom of worship; economic and social uncertainties in the wake of economic reforms and modernization; popular disillusion with the official ideology; and the enduring resilience of religion and tradition (Wellens, 2010, p. 279). This paper will be assessing how these indigenous religions have resurfaced and have been revived, and the difficulties that theses religions have faced during this post-Mao era of revival. Folk religions were among the religions that regained popularity and were revived in the post-Mao era. This resurgence was well experienced by 1982. At this time, peasants in Chuansha County in sub-urban Shanghai were flocking to visit fortune tellers. The fortune tellers however were charging a fee for their services but this still did not deter the locals from flocking at their premise. In addition, sorceresses at this particular period were being paid lump sum amounts for curing diseases. The locals had regained so much faith in their traditional religions that they were willing to spend any amount of money to get a hold of the benefits that could be reaped from them. A few years later after the folk religion had been re-introduced in to society, the effects begun to be seen. In 1986, a total of 393 ancestor halls were erected in the market town of Guangdong province. The locals gathered here to worship in masses in these worship halls (Wellens, 2010). These halls were one of the ways in which the ancestors of the Chinese people reappeared in the post-Mao era. The locals also gathered here for worship purposes. More to just being symbolic and worship centers, these halls helped in the popularization of the religions which had become indigenous as a result of the communist era. By the year 1988, the religious practices had been so much embraced that they were being practiced in funerals. This was the case in a village in Sichuan. The locals used to conduct ancestral worship during the holidays. They used to offer sacrifices to appeases and welcome their ancestral spirits. When it came to funerals, the locals practiced and performed the religious rites. This is because they wanted the spirit of the departed to be accepted in the spirit world and to make peace with them so that they would not inflict harm on them during the afterlife. In Yulin, a city of about 1 million people in northern Shaanxi, 50 major temples, 500 medium-size temples and thousands of smaller temples have been built or repaired since Mao’s death in 1976. A school teacher there took it upon himself to rebuild a temple honoring a maiden who got pregnant by eating a peach and gave birth to five dragons—black, red, white, green and yellow—through her nostrils, mouth and ears (Wellens, 2010). The religious revival has seen the religions gaining freedom in the media to some extent and through the media, they are able to bring back to life the religions. In Fujian for example, the Buddhist monks advertise their places of worship and other aspects on television. The Shaman and Yingyang religions have setup enterprises in rural communities to help the communities appreciate the religion and the gods. This resurgence and revival of the indigenous religions has influenced culture in a great way. The first cultural implication that the revival has had is the fact that many Chinese people believe in various customs. What this means is that an individual or a certain culture may believe in one particular religion but are practicing some customs that are associated to another. The religions have also raised the level of superstition among the locals because of the many beliefs that they have. After the state permitted religious activities in 1979, differentiated stances or strategies towards different religions were adopted. The stances were cooptation, discouragement, restriction, and suppression. These stances were arranged from the softest to the harshest. The stance to be implicated on a religion was entirely based on how big the religious organization was. Therefore the bigger the religion, the less the government rules it had to comply with. This posed a big problem to the indigenous religions which were under tight monitoring from the government. The sects, which were cracked down on, together with the religions which have been restricted and suppressed have had a hard time gaining ground in post-Mao China. The main reason why these religions have found it difficult to establish themselves is the fact that the government has imposed tough policies and rules which discourage their popularization in the country. For example, the catholic church and the protestant church in China have not enjoyed ultimate freedom of worship up until 2005 when religion was enshrined in the country as a right of all citizens. The Buddhists were cracked down by the government through sanctions because they were termed as politically defiant. Also, another aspect of government that has been a big challenge to the indigenous religions is the fact China is a single party country. Therefore the policies that have been passed by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party), have gone unchallenged even if they may seem unfair (Lai, 2006). Works Cited Lai, H., H. Religious Policies in Post-Totalitarian China: Maintaining Political Monopoly over a Reviving Society. 2006. Web. 10 December 2012. Wellens, Koen. Religious Revival in the Tibetan Borderlands: The Premi of Southwest China. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2010. Print. Read More
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