Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Confucian Cap, a Taoist Robe, and Buddhist Sandals.

In Time's "The World's Greatest Religions", it has this to say about the 'philosophy of China':

"A modern cynic has said that the Chinese were the first people to "outgrow" religion. Yet this is misleading, for prior to the present Communist drive against traditional beliefs, China was, throughout its long existence, notably tolerant of religious systems of every kind and despite some unhappy periods, generally free from religious wars and persecutions. For this reason, perhaps, the Chinese have never engendered a single, close-knit faith like Christianity or Islam. Religion in China represents a coalescence of many elements, native and foreign, rational and naive.
"Within this complex edifice, however, rise three soaring pillars of thought: Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism.
"The essential character of religion in China is that... the Chinese have never considered themselves exclusively "Confucianists", "Buddhists" or "Taoists"... Chinese literature is filled with references to "the harmony of the three religions... three roads to the same destination". The three share several doctrines in common; all teach the original goodness of man, and all hold that man can attain salvation through the realization of his essential nature." The World's Great Religions, Time Incorporated, 1957, pg. 73

The introduction of John C. H. Wu's translation of the Tao Teh Ching comments further stating,
"Both Confucianism and Taoism complement each other, however incompatible they seem at first sight to be. The former places a man in his proper relation to his fellow-men, the latter in proper relation to nature. A third philosophy, Buddhism, thought introduced from India, deals with the problem of human suffering and with man's ultimate destiny. These three inheritances - the first adjusting man to his fellow-man, the second to nature, and the third to the Absolute - have moulded the thinking not only of the Chinese people but of all Eastern Asia. There is truth, then, in the common saying that every Chinese wears a Confucian cap, a Taoist robe, and Buddhist sandals.Introduction, by Arthur W. Hummel (pg. xi) of John C. H. Wu's Translation of the Tao Teh Ching, Shambhala Bonston & London, 2006
This final line had struck me the first time I read it.

I suppose it is what I had hoped to discover within the major three Abrahamic Faiths - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Some sort of peaceful synthesis. But I believe their dreams and hopes of Empire gets in the way.

The Abrahamic Faiths are, or have become, organized institutions; corporate entities within themselves, with their own lives and machinations. (It is important to make this distinction, however, between these three  Religious Entities themselves and their followers - or adherents. They are not necessarily one in the same).

Is it too late for the Abrahamic Faith traditions? Are they doomed to conflict, warfare, and strife? (Or is the world around them doomed to have conflict, warfare, and strife inflicted upon it because of them?)
What steps might be necessary to achieve these ends, and more importantly, is there any will to do so?

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