China has been a multi-religion country since the ancient times. It is well known that Confucianism is an indigenous religion and is the soul of Chinese culture, which enjoyed popular support among people and even became the guiding ideology for feudalism society, but it did not develop into a national belief. It makes the culture more tolerant to others, thus, many other religions have been brought into the country in different dynasties, but none of them developed powerful enough in the history and they only provide diverse people more spiritual support.
|Buddha Statues in Yungang Grottoes, Datong |
Chinese Religion Pictures
Now, Buddhism has developed into the most important religion in the country. The latest survey shows that 31% of the people who do not believe in this religion have participated in some Buddhist activities and about 17 million people have already become converts. Now more of those followers come from different walks of life such as the intellectuals, business elites and the common people. Recently, there is a new report, The Chinese Luxury Consumer White Paper 2012, jointly published by the Industrial Bank and Hurun Report, which shows that 39% of the intellectuals and businessmen have faith in Buddhism. Not only the number of the followers is increasing, and the education of Buddhism obtains more attention from the society. Under the Buddhist Association of China, 34 different levels of Buddhist academies as well as almost 50 magazines can be found. Now in mainland China, there are about 13 thousand temples and 180 thousand monks and nuns.
Han Buddhism: With 8,400 temples and 50 thousand monks, it is the largest branch on the mainland.
Tibetan Buddhism: As the second large sect, it has 3,000 temples and 120 thousand monks.
Southern Buddhism: Having 8,000 monks and 1,600 temples, this sect has the smallest scale.
Famous Buddhist Relics:
|Potala Palace, Lhasa||Yonghe Lamasery, Beijing|
|Jade Buddha Temple, Shanghai||Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xian|
|Mt. Wutai, Shanxi||Temple of Soul's Retreat, Hangzhou|
|Longmen Grottoes, Luoyang||Shaolin Temple, Henan|
|White Horse Temple, Luoyang|
|Statue of Confucius|
Confucianism has worldwide influence. In many countries and regions of world such the UK, USA, branches of Confucius Institutes are established in recent years to spread Chinese culture and expand the language. In China, you can find many Confucius temples, which is an important place for the candidates for important exams. In Beijing, They hang some red wooden plates with lucky words in the Confucius Temple in the hope of gaining high marks and a good future.
Famous Confucius Temples:
Confucius Temple in Qufu Confucius Temple in Beijing Confucius Temple in Nanjing
|The Immortals Worshipped by Taoism|
Famous Taoist Relics:
|Wudang Mountain, Shiyan, Hubei||Mt Qingcheng, Chengdu|
|Mt. Huashan, Xian||White Cloud Temple, Beijing|
Being introduced into China in the 7th century in Tang Dynasty, Islam has more than 1,400 years’ history in the country. Now, Muslims live everywhere, but the highest concentrations are Ningxia Hui Autonosmous Region, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Gansu Province and even Qinghai Province. Sunni Islam was the main branch worshipped by almost all the Muslims in the country.
Famous Islamic Relics:
Great Mosque, Xian Dongguan Mosque, Xining
Christianity & Catholicism
Both Catholicism and Christianity were first introduced to China in Tang Dynasty, which was named as Nestorianism during that time. After 1840, they swept the country. Although they were suspended after 1949, it spread fast in recent years. Now about 15 million Chinese people are Catholics, who are organized in about 97 parishes, while about 20 million Christians are in Mainland. Most of Christians gather in the south part of the country.
|East Church, Beijing (St Joseph's Church)||St. Ignatius Cathedral, Shanghai|
|Churches in Hong Kong||Saint Sophia Church, Harbin (an Orthodox church)|
In addition to the five main religions, Chinese people have some other traditional folk beliefs. More than 200 million people believe the existence of the ancestors’ souls and worship them, while about 700 million have taken part in the activities to worship their ancestors or related activities. About 150 million people believe in Fengshui theory and 140 million people believe in God of Wealth. Chinese Astrology is very popular and many people think the sign can decide one’s characters and future. Thus, it is obvious that the traditional folk belief has a wide foundation among the local people. Now, more and more Chinese people are fond of constellation in western culture. In the beginning of a new year, some people will watch some fortune telling programs to see whether they can succeed in the next year and learn how to avoid back luck.