History – Chinese ancestors cult

History – Chinese ancestors cult

Chinese ancestors cult

In this article we will see: “Chinese ancestors cult”, history, the chronicle of human civilization, serves as a window to the past, illuminating the triumphs, struggles, and evolution of societies over millennia. Through the study of historical events, we unravel the complexities of our collective heritage and gain insight into the forces shaping our present and future.

Summary : History – Chinese ancestors cult

Chinese ancestors cult, deeply ingrained in ancient Chinese culture, formed the cornerstone of societal and religious practices. From the reverence accorded to Chang-ti to the elaborate rituals surrounding funeral rites, the veneration of ancestors shaped the spiritual landscape of Chinese ancestors cult.

This introduction sets the stage for an exploration of the cultural significance and historical context of ancestor worship, shedding light on its evolution and enduring impact on Chinese civilization. Through examining its rituals, beliefs, and societal implications, we gain insight into the profound role that ancestor worship played in shaping the identity and values of ancient Chinese society through: Chinese ancestors cult.

History – Chinese ancestors cult

Chang-ti was regarded by all Chinese as the supreme god. Other deities appeared quite vague and impersonal. For the upper classes, however, the worship of gods came only after that of ancestors. When a man died, his spirit, it was believed, survived him and served as a guide and protector to his descendants. The spirit of the ancestors animated Chang-ti (hence his supremacy), transmitting to him the ability to impose himself for good or ill. It was therefore necessary to honor the dead as gods.

On certain special occasions, even, human beings were sacrificed. The case arose, among others, when the king died, around 1050 BC. Several neighboring regions having revolted, the noble Changs imagined that they had not shown enough generosity in their last sacrifices. It was urgent to rectify this error. A little outside Han-Yang, in the cemetery reserved for kings and nobles, workers dug a huge pit.

It was accessed by ramps and stairs located at both ends. A small burial chamber was arranged at the very bottom. The mortal remains of the king were lowered into this room. Around it, weapons and bronze vases were placed, as well as the personal treasures of the deceased monarch.

Then, on the various platforms inside the pit, servants and prisoners were sacrificed. The gods could only be satisfied, and the spirit of the deceased considered perfectly honored: more than two hundred people had perished to please them!

Alas! this dreadful sacrifice hardly benefited the Chang dynasty, which, on the contrary, began to see its power seriously decline. Enemy hordes were becoming more and more agitated on the borders of the kingdom. Among these threatening peoples, the Zhou were not the least turbulent. They soon invaded the Chang empire. Around 1025 BC, they occupied Han-Yang and proclaimed their king the “Son of Heaven”. The Zhou thus founded the third Chinese dynasty. A Zhou king therefore occupied the throne.

This did not mean that his authority was immediately recognized by the people. On the contrary, many battles had to be fought before the Zhou dynasty succeeded in imposing itself on the cities and tribes of the vast empire. At the beginning, in the confusion that followed the advent of the third dynasty, the arts experienced a slight decline. But Chang culture was so deeply rooted in the hearts of the Chinese people that bronze vases and cups continued to be made.

Chinese ancestors cult: Religious practices, too, remained the same. The peasants, called the “Black Heads”, worshiped the gods of nature and readily turned to the priest-magicians who helped them by providing remedies for their illnesses or magical formulas for the success of their enterprises. The upper classes and the nobility still believed in a supreme god who, now, was called “Heaven”. Likewise, sacrifices were still made to the spirits of the ancestors.

The Zhou might have been rough warriors, but they were nevertheless unable to keep their feudal kingdom under their control. In 771 BC, the rebellious states formed a coalition. They took the capital, and the king was forced to settle in Lo-Yang, which was a religious center. There, the “Son of Heaven”, as the emperor was then called, was reduced to being a puppet, scorned by the feudal chiefs who now held power.

The worst was to come a few centuries later, when the feudal system itself collapsed following internal quarrels. It was then that a young man named Kong Fuzi, who was later universally known as Confucius, brought a brand new solution to the Chinese problem. Confucius was born around 550 BC in the small state of Lu in the Shandong province. Although his father belonged to a good family, Confucius experienced poverty at a very young age.

He had to work in a variety of jobs to survive. But even while working, he never stopped observing his surroundings. He eventually developed very personal ideas. In his view, the only way to emerge from chaos and resurrect harmonious agreement was to teach men to behave well.

At that time, certainly, many people believed in the virtue of “good conduct”. But they understood these words in the narrowest sense: external manifestations of religious worship and strict ritual sacrifices. Confucius approved of the rigidity of a code of life, but he wanted to see it go beyond religion and apply to the relationships between ordinary mortals. In his eyes, the relationship between “self” and “others” was of paramount importance.

They were the basis of social life. Civilization itself depended on how men behaved toward each other. Therefore, everyone had to be just, good, loyal, sincere, and selfless. Educated and well-born men could more easily adhere to this ideal. But everyone had to make an effort to achieve it.

Last word about : History – Chinese ancestors cult

Chinese ancestors cult stood as a fundamental pillar of ancient Chinese society, reflecting the deep-seated reverence for familial ties and spiritual continuity. From the sacrifices made to honor departed ancestors to the rituals performed to ensure their guidance and protection, ancestor worship permeated every aspect of life in ancient China.

The enduring legacy of Chinese ancestors cult endures as a testament to the profound significance of familial bonds and the continuity of tradition across generations. As we reflect on its cultural significance, we recognize ancestor worship as a cornerstone of ancient Chinese spirituality, embodying the timeless values of reverence, continuity, and communal identity.

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