There was not just one religion in China, but several, and made up of different philosophies.
One of China's best-known religious philosophies was created by Confucius (or Kung Fu-tzu, “Master Kung”), who lived from approximately 551 to 479 BC Confucius was considered to be the empire's greatest teacher and was worshiped in various corners of the territory. His teachings spoke of ethics and rites of passage from one stage of life to another, such as birth, marriage, and death.
Confucius (551-479 BC)
Confucius' ideas valued the pursuit of balance and harmony for a better life. The whole of his teachings was named after Confucianism. This religious philosophy, which to this day is widespread in China, did not preach the worship of a god, but humanism and good relations between people. The fundamental rule of Confucius said, "What you do not want them to do to you, do not to others."
Another important religious manifestation remains Buddhism (link to Buddhism / religions), which originated in India and expanded in China from the 3rd century AD.
Popular religions were festive and gathered many followers. Families worshiped the gods at annual festivals and offerings to ancestors. They believed that the ancestors' spirits protected the home and therefore reserved one of the rooms in the house as their home. At certain times of the year, such as the ancestor's birthday or death, family members honored him.
China's largest popular religion was the Taoism (link to religions). His theories were created by the thinker Lao Tzu, who lived around the 6th century BC According to Lao Tzu, the Tao would be the creator of the world and responsible for the order of all things and all people. Taoism gained many adherents among the popular strata by preaching that all who led a very miserable and suffering life on earth could achieve a better life after death, by faith and by purification.
According to Lao-tse, all nature is governed by the balance of the yin (negative and female energy) and yang (positive and male energy) energies, the opposites that complement each other. And the human body is part of this set. The opposition between yin and yang energies can explain phenomena that occur in our body: if in harmony, these energies promote health; if in imbalance, the disease.
Deities of Taoist Origin
The Three Pure - The Three Pure are the Taoist trinity of gods representing the supreme principles.
· Four Emperors - Heavenly Kings of Taoism.
- Jade Emperor - The Jade Emperor is the supreme ruler of all, counted among the major Taoist deities.
- Beiji Dadi - Ruler of the Stars.
- Tianhuang Dadi - Ruler of the gods.
- Empress of the Earth
Xi Wangmu or Queen Mother of the West is the goddess who holds the secret of eternal life and the gateway to paradise.
· Pak Tai or Bei Di is the Northern Taoist God, Pak Tai is one of the Five Emperors who since the Han Dynasty are associated with each of the cardinal points (North, South, East, West and Center) according to Five Element theory. . In Hong Kong and Macau, they are considered wind deities. Pak Tai is also the god of waters.
Eight Immortals: The Eight Immortals are a Taoist belief first described in the Yuan Dynasty. The power of each Immortal can be transferred to a tool that can bring life and destroy evil. Most were born in the Tang or Sung Dynasties. Not only are they worshiped by the Taoists, they are elements of Chinese culture. They live on Penglai Mountain.
Deities of Buddhist Origin
· Guan Yin or Kuan Yin is the goddess of compassion and pity.
· Hotei is a popular Buddhist deity. God of joy and fortune.
· Dizang is the one who saves from death.
Yanluo is the ruler of Hell (abbreviated form of Sanskrit Yama Raja
· Shi Tennô: The Four Celestial Kings are Buddhist guardian gods.
Erlang Shen is a Chinese god with a third eye on his forehead who sees the truth.
· Lei Gong the god of thunder.
· Guan Yu is the god of brotherhoods, martial arts and, when they occur, also god of war.
· Zhao Gongming, god of fortune riding a tiger.
· Bi Gan is also a god of fortune.
· Zhu Rong is the God of fire.
· Gong Gong is the God of water.
Chi You: God of war and inventor of metal weapons.
Historians assume that Chinese mythology began around 1100 BC. Myths and legends were passed on orally for about a thousand years before they were written in early books such as Shui Jing Zhu it's the Shan Hai Jing. Other myths continued to be passed through oral traditions such as theater and songs, before being written in books such as Fengshen Yanyi.