A Chinese Religions Perspective

Chung-Ying Cheng

in The Oxford Handbook of Religious Diversity

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195340136
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

A Chinese Religions Perspective

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  • Religion
  • Comparative Religion
  • East Asian Religions



In China, there is a strong underlying philosophy that explicitly recognizes religious diversity and diversification as a way of extension and duration, even though diversity can be seen as a manifestation of the same principle or truth of the original and hence to contain ultimate principles of unity. The unity in diversity is what actually gives itself the momentum toward diversification as a way of realizing the unity. This can be seen in the first development of the philosophy of the Yi (change) in the Yijing, which transforms the ancient religion of tian (heaven) into a moral consciousness of self-discipline and cultivation of moral reason in individual human beings. This article discusses religious diversity in China and shows how the three Chinese religions—Confucianism, Daoism, and Chinese Buddhism—have worked basically under the paradigm of creative harmony of the Yijing. It also examines diversity as a principle of religious development and considers religious conscience in Confucianism, Daoism, and Chinese Buddhism.

Keywords: China; Yijing; religious conscience; Confucianism; Daoism; Chinese Buddhism; unity

Article.  7275 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Comparative Religion ; East Asian Religions

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