Chinese religion comprises of Confucianism, Taoism and Mahayana Buddhism. They are linked by their belief in the power of god, fate and ancestor worship. The native religion of Japan is Shinto.
origin. China, 5th century BC.
originator. Kong Fuzi (Confucius).
followers. 5.75 million.
Confucianism is an approach to life based on the teachings of Kongfuzi. Stability, happiness and prosperity lies in conforming to the 'Will of Heaven', a spiritual principle that regulates the course of events.
Mengzi (372-289BC) developed these ideals to form the basis of Chinese ethical behaviour.
origin. Pre-history China.
originator. Unknown, however Lao Zi defined the fundamentals of Taoism in the 6th century BC.
main text. Tao-Ti Ching, Way of Zhvangzi and later I Ching (the Book of Changes).
followers. 20 million.
Tao or Dao (The Way) is regarded as the power behind all events and the flow of those events. Followers believe that all events are divine and a life of quiet contemplation will achieve oneness with Dao. The concept of Yin and Yang, the male and female opposites of personality, that bring balance to the universe is central to the belief.
origin. Indigenous Japanese religion, date unknown.
originator. Unknown, national folk religion.
holy shrine. The Temple of the Sun Goddess near Kyoto.
followers. 3.2 million.
deity. Kami, the sacred energies found in nature (trees, rocks, water etc) including the Sun Goddess and her descendant, the Emperor.
Vitality, growth and prosperity is achieved through the worship of Kami. The rituals embody purity, loyalty and sincerity. There are no theological texts.