Modern Trends in World Religions

By A. Eustace Haydon | Go to book overview

XVII
CONFUCIANISM AND INTERCULTURAL CONTACTS

BY LEWIS HODOUS

THERE are two streams in the thought and religious life of the Chinese. On the one hand the Chinese responded to the universe as though it were psychical. They started from man and proceeded to discarnate spirits. There was a strong tendency to ignore any dividing line between men and spirits. Out of this grew the elaborate ancestor worship, the worship of heroes, and of Shang-ti, the God of Heaven.

The second stream starts from the physical universe. The Chinese were interested in the dynamic aspect of nature rather than the chemical. They have the five dynamic forces and the yin, the negative influence, and yang, the positive influence.

Both these streams are found in the Confucian tradition. For example, in the Analects, which was arranged by the disciples of Confucius and their pupils we have the following statements attributed to the master:

He who offends against Heaven has none to whom he can pray.

If I have in any way done wrong, may Heaven reject me!

Heaven produced the virtue that is in me. What harm can Huan T'ui do to me? Since the death of King Wen was not the cause of truth lodged here in me? If Heaven should let this cause of truth perish, then I should not have got such a relation to that cause. While Heaven does not let the cause of truth perish, what harm can the people of Huan do unto me?

Heaven has deserted me! Heaven has deserted me!
My prayer has been for a long time.

-169-

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