Name: Instructor: Course: Date: East Asian Religions It is undeniable that the East Asian regions have well defined and diverse religious structures that tend to be more or less similar in terms of beliefs and rituals. Some of the East Asian countries, which share these religious systems, are China, Japan, Vietnam, and Vietnam with the first two having more intricate and distinct belief systems…
Daoism, also known as Taoism, is one of the dominant religions in China with many features that enhance its uniqueness. Coined from the word Dao, which simply means the path, Daoism anchors on fundamental principles that give precedence to the way of the universe. Although Taoism as a religion has seen numerous changes over the years, the basic tenets that underpin the religion have always remained the same. It mainly delves on such beliefs systems as breathing, reflection, and recital of various verses that support it. Nothing much was introduced into the religion until the early twelfth century when such belief systems and fundamentals as abstinence and verse recitations during repentance (Bretzke 191). According to Coogan and Narayanan, Taoists are vegetarians, strongly holding on the belief that the combination of breathing and meditation promotes long life in humanity. The first unique feature in Taoism is the Tao that simply means the way. This means that Tao is the only being that deserves emulation, as it is the primary overseer of all living things (213). In this scenario, Taoists shun extremities in life and instead promote interdependence. When it comes to nature, they differentiate black from white by Yin and Yang respectively, positing that the two have some element of balanced inter-existence. In simple language, this means that white can exist in black and the opposite is true hence striking a perfect balance between the two is necessary (Coogan and Narayanan 213). The next major component of this kind of religion is the De, which has close interrelationship with the Tao. It simply endeavors to enhance the principles of Tao by upholding virtues professed by Tao while maintain high integrity at the same time. While the Tao does not support the act of doing things in extremes but in moderation, the De aligns itself closely to this principle belief by insisting on the practice of morality throughout one’s lifetime. Last but most importantly is the precept of immortality in Taoism where it is the duty of every Taoist to endeavor to reach a state of immortality through the continual practice of meditation and breathing. Since its inception, staunch Taoist priests have used mineral salts and gunpowder in their quest to find elixirs. They widely believed those whose religious efforts were impeccable could easily transform to immortal beings who eventually offer guidance to mortals (Coogan and Narayanan 216). Another major religious outfit in the Chinese and Japanese religious structures is the Shinto that fundamentally pays tribute to certain spiritual beings known as the Kami. Although the Shintoists do not believe in an almighty God or gods, they normally offer rituals to the Kami in designated shrines (Coogan and Narayanan 416). Their belief system emphasizes not in the explaining the world or how things happen on earth but the perpetual connection and communication with their spiritual being, the Kami. In Shinto, the followers accord much essence to the rituals that connect them with the kami, spirits whose mission is to enhance the welfare of all human beings. Perhaps some of the most distinct beliefs include the notion that humans are not originators of sin, lack of scriptures and God, fully acknowledging the fact that not only the followers or adherents of Shinto can offer rituals but ...
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