Saturday, March 25, 2017

Mountain of Religions

Lo Wai, in the the mountain above Tsuen Wan, is littered with numerous temples.  There are temples of Chinese Buddhism, Thai Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism-Daoism-Buddhism, etc.  

It was a long run from Hung Hom of 19+ km.  But it was worth it.  

I could only spend some time at  this time.  So I will probably be back.  

Chinese Buddhism (漢傳佛教) is quite different from Thai Buddhism.  It was believed to have arrived in China from the northwest over land through the Silk Road in the Han Dynasty.  It is often considered a part of Mahayana Buddhism (大乘佛教), which seem to stress the possibility of universal liberation from suffering for all beings (hence ‘Great Vehicle”), and the existence of buddhas and bodhisattvas (菩薩).     

Thai Buddhism, on the other hand, is generally believed to be of the Theravada school (school of the elderly monks, 上座部佛教).  It is believed that Theravada Buddhism was brought to Thailand through Sri Lanka after Buddhism declined in India itself.  But Thai Buddhism also adopted many aspects of Chinese Buddhism because of the large number of Chinese immigrants to Thailand.  So it is complicated.  

Daoism is indigenous to China.  It started out as a philosophy perhaps around 500 BC.  In the Han Dynasty, a new religion declared that it was based on Daoism.  Daoism the religion later integrated a lot of folk religion, Confucianism and Buddhism into itself.  It is patently obvious at Yuen Yuen Institute (圓玄學院), where they worship Confucius (孔子), Lao Tse (老子, the founder of Daoism the philosophy) and Buddha (佛祖) side by side.  

In this sense, the Chinese is wonderfully creative, practical and accommodating.  

No comments: