Hinduism in China

Hinduism in China

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Hinduism is a minor religion in The People's Republic of China, with roughly about 130,000 followers and composing only of 0.01% of China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

's total population.

Early Hindu influence



Some examples of influence by Hinduism on ancient Chinese religion included the belief of "six schools" or "six doctrines" as well as use of Yoga
Yoga
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on Supersoul...

, stupas (later became pagoda
Pagoda
A pagoda is the general term in the English language for a tiered tower with multiple eaves common in Nepal, India, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and other parts of Asia. Some pagodas are used as Taoist houses of worship. Most pagodas were built to have a religious function, most commonly Buddhist,...

 in East Asia). However, in China, Hinduism has never gained much popularity, unlike the beliefs of Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 and Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

.

There was a small Hindu community in China, mostly situated in southeastern China. A late thirteenth-century bilingual Tamil and Chinese-language inscription has been found associated with the remains of a Siva temple of Quanzhou
Quanzhou
Quanzhou is a prefecture-level city in Fujian province, People's Republic of China. It borders all other prefecture-level cities in Fujian but two and faces the Taiwan Strait...

. This was one of possibly two south Indian-style Hindu temples (115) that must have been built in the southeastern sector of the old port, where the foreign traders' enclave was formerly located.

The Four Heavenly Kings
Four Heavenly Kings
In the Buddhist faith, the Four Heavenly Kings are four gods, each of whom watches over one cardinal direction of the world.The Kings are collectively named as follows:...

 originated from the Lokapālas. Hanuman
Hanuman
Hanuman , is a Hindu deity, who is an ardent devotee of Rama, a central character in the Indian epic Ramayana and one of the dearest devotees of lord Rama. A general among the vanaras, an ape-like race of forest-dwellers, Hanuman is an incarnation of the divine and a disciple of Lord Rama in the...

 is believed by some scholars to be a source for the Chinese
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 mythological
Chinese mythology
Chinese mythology is a collection of cultural history, folktales, and religions that have been passed down in oral or written tradition. These include creation myths and legends and myths concerning the founding of Chinese culture and the Chinese state...

 character Sun Wukong
Sun Wukong
Sun Wukong , also known as the Monkey King is a main character in the classical Chinese epic novel Journey to the West . In the novel, he is a monkey born from a stone who acquires supernatural powers through Taoist practices...

.

The Yaksha
Yaksha
Yaksha is the name of a broad class of nature-spirits, usually benevolent, who are caretakers of the natural treasures hidden in the earth and tree roots. They appear in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist mythology. The feminine form of the word is ' or Yakshini .In Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist mythology,...

 (Chinese: 夜叉) originally from Hindu history, are a class of nature ghosts or demons. Belief in the Yaksha made its way to China through the Lotus Sutra
Lotus Sutra
The Lotus Sūtra is one of the most popular and influential Mahāyāna sūtras, and the basis on which the Tiantai and Nichiren sects of Buddhism were established.-Title:...

, which was originally translated into Chinese by Dharmaraksa
Dharmaraksa
' was one a translators of Mahayana Buddhist scriptures into Chinese. Scriptural catalogues describe him as of Yuezhi origin. His family lived at Dunhuang, where he was born around 230 CE...

 around 290 CE, before being superseded by a translation in seven fascicles by Kumārajīva
Kumarajiva
Kumārajīva; was a Kuchean Buddhist monk, scholar, and translator. He first studied teachings of the Sarvastivada schools, later studied under Buddhasvāmin, and finally became a Mahāyāna adherent, studying the Madhyamaka doctrine of Nagarjuna. Kumārajīva settled in Chang'an, which was the imperial...

 in 406 CE.

Hinduism in the Cultural Revolution and Beyond


Hinduism in China faced even more obstacles during the rise of Communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 in China, when the Chinese Communist government discouraged any practice of religion, as it was considered anti-socialist, as well as a symbol of feudalism and foreign colonialism. During the Communist Cultural Revolution
Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, commonly known as the Cultural Revolution , was a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 through 1976...

, a movement which took place from 1966 to 1977, religious people of all faiths were persecuted, and during this time, many religious buildings and services were closed down and replaced with non religious buildings for more materialistic services. However, from 1977 onwards, the government eased their restrictions on religion as the Constitution of the People's Republic of China
Constitution of the People's Republic of China
The Constitution of the People's Republic of China is the highest law within the People's Republic of China. The current version was adopted by the 5th National People's Congress on December 4, 1982 with further revisions in 1988, 1993, 1999, and 2004. Three previous state constitutions—those of...

 was signed and many of the Chinese were allowed to practice their religious and personal beliefs once again. Even so, the government is still very suspicious of other religious activities, specifically if it involves foreign nations.

Many Chinese tourists visits Phra Phrom in Thailand to make wishes, such as the celebrity Deborah Lee
Deborah Lee
Deborah Lee is the name of:* Deb Lee, fictional character from the American TV series One Tree Hill*Debbie Lee, Australian rules footballer* Deborah Lee , film producer for Scenes of the Crime...

.

Hinduism in mainland China


Even though Hinduism originated within the Indian culture, the impact on China and Chinese way of life is present. The Chinese government has invited the Swaminarayan Trust that runs the Akshardham temples in Noida and in Gandhinagar, to build a similar temple.
A huge piece of land has been earmarked in Fohsan state, which will not only house the temple but also an Indian cultural centre.

Hinduism remains in Quanzhou


There is no Hinduism believer in Quanzhou
Quanzhou
Quanzhou is a prefecture-level city in Fujian province, People's Republic of China. It borders all other prefecture-level cities in Fujian but two and faces the Taiwan Strait...

 now, but some historical remains had been here in Quanzhou
for centuries, and became a part of the décor of other religions, for example, the famous Buddhism Temple – Kaiyuan Temple. Behind its main hall "the Mahavira Hall” there are some columns decorated by some Hinduism carvings.

External links

  • http://acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu/~phalsall/texts/chinrelg.html
  • http://www.religionfacts.com/chinese_religion/history.htm
  • http://www.friesian.com/six.htm
  • http://hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/h_buddhism.htm
  • http://www.hindu.org/publications/frawley/yogabuddhism.html
  • Siva Temple in China