Traditional Religion in China


Buddhism is a religion that spread throughout Asia a little over 2,000 years ago. Though has the same roots, Buddhism is practiced differently in different regions. Around the same time, before Buddhism was introduced in China, the Chinese established a religion or philosophical way of thinking called Daoism. When Buddhism came to China, most people integrated Daoist beliefs, which are rich in folklore, and their understanding of the natural world with Buddhism, creating Chinese Buddhism. Because of this, Chinese Buddhism is complex and rife with stories and Daoist beliefs.

What tradition did I learn about?:

In my time exploring Nanjing, I realized there is a heavy concentration of temples and gardens centered in the city. Nanjing was the capital of China for a few dynasties, so the city is definitely rich in tradition and nature.

I have recently learned about some of the different stories that relate to Chinese Buddhism and the natural world that surrounds us here. In traditional China, people used the lunar calendar and would give proper respect and honor to the moon. One story is that there is a goddess that lives on the moon who is accompanied by a rabbit.

Another aspect of Chinese Buddhism is the inclusion of the five natural elements: fire, wood, water, earth and metal. Each element serves its own purpose within Buddhism, but they are also a part of Daoism.