Education About Asia: Online Archives

Using Mazu to Teach Key Elements of Chinese Religions

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The multiplicities of Chinese religion can be hard to grasp for North American students. For some, “Chinese religion” might bring to mind bustling temples with people offering incense to a dimly lit statue. When I teach Chinese religions, on the first day of class, I often ask students what they know about Chinese religions. There are always a few students who offer that there are three religions (Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism) in China, and sometimes a few will also offer that the People’s Republic of China officially recognizes five religions (Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestant Christianity).

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