Chinese Buddhist Perspective on God and Heaven Essay example

Submitted By kaykim3
Words: 808
Pages: 4

The concept of God (Di) and Heaven (Tian) in Chinese Buddhist civilization is very interesting. There are many beliefs that the Chinese and I hold similar. These concepts were brought in with the Shang and Zhou dynasties, which can be considered the bronze age of China. These dynasties were around from the years 1600-256 BCE. In my reflection, I will examine what the Chinese civilization beliefs are about Di and Heaven, as well as reflect on those beliefs, which are similar and differ from my own beliefs and understanding. Di, meaning God, in Chinese perspective is the almighty decision maker. This is true in the Shang dynasty. The king or the Shang may make a decision for the state, but all his plans have to be reported to Di before implementing his plans or decisions upon the state. God gives the Shang his answer by the cracks in a turtle shell and only the king (Shang) has the ability to read what the cracks mean. Di’s major roles are to approve of what the Kings plans are, control the weather and natural phenomenons, as well as, protect the people of the state from natural or human enemies. The Shang is the representation of the whole state, but Di controls everything, even what the Shang does. If Di was to say no to one of the Shang’s plans, the Shang must obey or it was understand there would be consequences for not listening to the final authority of God. The Shang dynasty decline was due to claims by Zhou that said that Tian (Heaven) ordered the Zhou ruler to conquer the Shang due to failure to fulfill his responsibilities commanded by the mandate of Heaven. The ruler may be powerful but if they are selfish and cruel, Heaven will take the dynasty back. It is not the ruler’s decision, you must be morally correct to rule the state, if not you will no longer be in charge. Unlike in the Shang dynasty, the Zhou dynasty does not believe Di to be the highest power. In the Zhou dynasty, Heaven (Tian) is more powerful than Di. The concept of Tian is that it is understand as the power that governs all creation. Tian is considered the source of all morality, a cosmic moral order, as well as, a power possessing the intelligence to guide the destinies of human beings. Between the Shang dynasty and the Zhou dynasty, we see a shift from God to Heaven as the ultimate power. Moral behaviour is the main reason the Zhou dynasty took over. The Shang ruler was corrupt and therefore, incapable of continuing to rule. The concepts of Di or Tian are both similar to my ideas when considering the ultimate power. I believe that the ruler of the state should be morally correct and not corrupt to be able to run the state smoothly, and if they are corrupt or morally unable then they should be over thrown with someone who is capable to take their place. The one thing I found to be interesting is the Shang king reading God’s decision on the back of a turtle shell that only…