Monday, December 19, 2016
The Three Teachings: Resources for Chinese Religions
Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism are known as the Three Teachings in China. Historian Stephen Teiser notes that a 6th century scholar referred to Buddhism as the sun, Daoism as the moon, and Confucianism as the five planets.
Asia for Educators has a terrific website about the three religions, adapted from Professor Teiser's book, “The Spirits of Chinese Religion,” part of which you can download in pdf. Teiser is the D. T. Suzuki Professor in Buddhist Studies and Professor of Religion at Princeton University.
Students can read a brief overview of the Three Teachings and why they are so important in understanding Chinese history.
Next, they can read about each of the traditions. Professor Teiser offers us insights far beyond what BBC and other encyclopedic religion sites offer. For example, readers will learn about the way of the Celestial Masters, an early Daoist movement that began in the second century. According to Professor Teiser, the celestial masters added mythology and rituals to many Daoist groups.
And in the Confucianism section, students will learn the attributes of a the ideal ruler which, according to Teiser, are "benevolence toward others; a general sense of doing what is right; and loyalty and diligence in serving one’s superiors."
Here's a review of the Three Teachings from "It's History."