Chinese tradition, ceremony,culture


Mr T

Senior Member
All temples have a religious staff tending to temple grounds, whether that's buddhist monks or taoist priests.
Well to be honest I can't recall ever seeing any priests or monks tending to temple grounds. The majority of sites I've seen were empty or didn't have religious staff. Although of course there are religiously active sites because Taoism and Buddhism is still practised in China, my impression (confirmed by all the Chinese I've ever spoken to) is that these were in a minority - not least because few Chinese pray when they visit these locations.

So what makes Chinese temples "less cultural" than western cathedrals or Japanese shrines?
See above. Christianity is an interesting one because a lot of people don't pray when they visit churches or cathedrals, although regarding the Japanese a clear majority do pray when they go to a shrine or temple.

China has A LOT of archaeological sites.
So that means flooding them under the dam was ok because there were more of them?

To put it another way, in the UK fracking is extremely controversial and hasn't taken off because people are against it, largely because of what they fear it will do to the environment and landscape. Whereas I have a feeling China wouldn't be concerned about that at all (and the last I read it was pushing ahead with fracking very eagerly).

I'm sure you feel very sure of your own position. I'm only sharing my own viewpoint.
 

taxiya

Major
Registered Member
With all due respect, China has lost some of its culture. For example, an awful lot of Chinese temples tend to just be tourist sites these days, rather than working religious centres that people also visit out of tourism. Whereas in a country like Japan the majority of temples and shrines have active priests.

Now you may say that you don't regard religion as having anything to do with Chinese culture, but for me if a purportedly religious site is an example of a nation's culture, it's somewhat hollow if it's just an empty building.

Don't get me wrong, I've had some lovely times in China, but it does seem that the historic culture is something that a lot of Chinese don't care about or only for the purposes of feeling nationalist pride. I saw a bit of that regarding the building of the Three Gorges Dam and what seemed to be a public indifference to the flooding of over 1,000 archaeological sites.



Err, is anyone suggesting that you can find a better example of Chinese culture outside China? Isn't the question about how far traditional Chinese culture has been lost, not least since the CCP came to power?
The same thing happens everywhere else including the west. How many people get wedded in Church today in Europe? In the place I live, few. The one do get wedded in a Church tends to be from middle east. More importantly, how many people in Europe even bother to get married? And today gay can be married by the church, isn't that a lost of traditional concept of marriage? How many people still follow the thing called "manner" in Europe? How many people still use the polite words to address senior and parents? The words like "Sie" in German, many European languages have such word but stopped using it in the last 40 years something. How many people still hold door for ladies today in Europe? In some very liberal European countries, one can get offending looks from women whom one hold doors for, call that a change.

Things change, people change, culture as a product of people changes too if not even faster. China is experiencing a huge change. But I don't see China is loosing her culture more than Europe on a overall perspective.
 

Mr T

Senior Member
How many people get wedded in Church today in Europe?
Well Europe isn't a country, it's a region. But religious weddings doesn't really indicate much, and I wouldn't suggest China's culture is based on where people get married.

And today gay can be married by the church
Wrong. Neither the Church (Catholic) nor Anglican Church allow that.

How many people still follow the thing called "manner" in Europe?
I think as many as ever did. Every generation older people say younger people get ruder - it's a consequence of getting older.

The words like "Sie" in German
I'm not German. Maybe Germans have lost a fair bit of their culture. I wouldn't know.

In some very liberal European countries, one can get offending looks from women whom one hold doors for
Again, I can't account for behaviours in a whole region like Europe. In the UK if someone holds a door open for you, you tend to smile or thank them. It's just that women sometimes hold doors open for men these days.

But I don't see China is loosing her culture more than Europe on a overall perspective.

Maybe some European countries have lost their culture as much as China has.

I have to laugh, whenever I get into a discussion with Chinese people or people who care deeply about China, when they get upset about something they frequently default to "you too" arguments. And that's happening here. But it's irrelevant, because the fact some countries have lost some of their culture doesn't mean China hasn't either. It's like a drunk person being challenged over the amount they've drunk, and them pointing to someone throwing up in the street saying "but he's drunk too!"
 

Equation

Lieutenant General
Religion institution is NOT the sole definition of one nations culture. History itself and the practice of customs are still very present in today's China. Heck we're still eating with chopsticks with traditional foods and customary greetings at the dinner table. Too many hard core Western religious believers are too stubborn and stuck on a cult belief that hasn't been proven either by historians or scientists and therefore believed it can NEVER be wrong. As a result all others before it is inferior. That is why a rising China is a threat to their belief and values. It means it is NOT legit as a true culture and history. This has been known through out academia from all over the world. I am NOT writing this as a put down to anyone's religious belief but from my own point of view and experiences.
 

solarz

Brigadier
Well to be honest I can't recall ever seeing any priests or monks tending to temple grounds. The majority of sites I've seen were empty or didn't have religious staff. Although of course there are religiously active sites because Taoism and Buddhism is still practised in China, my impression (confirmed by all the Chinese I've ever spoken to) is that these were in a minority - not least because few Chinese pray when they visit these locations.

See above. Christianity is an interesting one because a lot of people don't pray when they visit churches or cathedrals, although regarding the Japanese a clear majority do pray when they go to a shrine or temple.
That's simply because there are different religious practices. I am not familiar with Japanese shinto practices, but in China, the religious staff are not usually visible during tourist hours. There are no weekly "masses" like in Christianity. The only equivalent would be "holy days", which occur a few times a year, where there would be public ceremonies. The rest of the time, any religious ceremony would likely be from private requests, and out of sight of the public.

The vast majority of Chinese offer incense when visiting a temple. This is the Chinese equivalent of a "prayer". You stand before the statue of Buddha, Guanyin, Taishanglaojun, whoever, you raise your incense sticks and whisper whatever your prayer is. It's a pretty common sight whenever I visit a temple. Perhaps you're just not familiar with the practice?

So that means flooding them under the dam was ok because there were more of them?

To put it another way, in the UK fracking is extremely controversial and hasn't taken off because people are against it, largely because of what they fear it will do to the environment and landscape. Whereas I have a feeling China wouldn't be concerned about that at all (and the last I read it was pushing ahead with fracking very eagerly).

I'm sure you feel very sure of your own position. I'm only sharing my own viewpoint.
No, flooding them was not "okay", it was necessary to build a vital infrastructure that would benefit over a billion people.

You cannot compare China with the UK. The UK is a developed nation with the wealth to provide everyone with social welfare. There are rightfully debates about the benefit of fracking ventures versus the degradation of the environment.

China is a developing nation where hundreds of millions of people are still living in poverty, and welfare is inexistent. Energy projects are vital for raising the living standards of these people. Yes, the degradation of the environment is obviously of great concern, but the benefits are also pretty clear. You cannot reduce it to a simple black vs white, economy vs environment equation. The Chinese government pursues economic development and environmental protection in tandem. It has invested massively in renewable energy, its forestry policy has preserved and even renewed vast swathes of forests and woodlands, and its urbanization policy is designed to minimize the impact of human habitation upon the environment.

Not that this has anything to do with culture.
 

taxiya

Major
Registered Member
Well Europe isn't a country, it's a region. But religious weddings doesn't really indicate much, and I wouldn't suggest China's culture is based on where people get married.
Religion and custom of marriage are both part of culture, isn't it?
Europe being a country or region is not the center of point when talking about change of culture. The trend of change is global, regardless what entity we talk about.
Wrong. Neither the Church (Catholic) nor Anglican Church allow that.
There are more branches of Churches in Europe. Catholic is primarily in the south of Europe. Anglican is only English part of the world. North, north-west and central continatal Europe (Germany for example) are not part of either one of them. World is bigger than you think. Seriously you think Europe is just another version of UK?


I think as many as ever did. Every generation older people say younger people get ruder - it's a consequence of getting older.
or, it is the change or particularly lost of part of the culture.


I'm not German. Maybe Germans have lost a fair bit of their culture. I wouldn't know.
German is only one example. I live in a country that has the same distinct word as "Sie", which was proactively disscuraged by Social Democrat government in the 1960s and 1970s. So some of my older friends still remember that change and able to tell me the loose. Newer generation born after 1970s would never even know the existence of these traditions.

Besides, English is an exception among European languages which lacks such words, or lost them so much earlier that non of us here would even know.



Again, I can't account for behaviours in a whole region like Europe. In the UK if someone holds a door open for you, you tend to smile or thank them. It's just that women sometimes hold doors open for men these days.
That I agree, I heard same "complains" from my native English (British among others) speaking immigrants too.


But I don't see China is loosing her culture more than Europe on a overall perspective.

Maybe some European countries have lost their culture as much as China has.

I have to laugh, whenever I get into a discussion with Chinese people or people who care deeply about China, when they get upset about something they frequently default to "you too" arguments. And that's happening here. But it's irrelevant, because the fact some countries have lost some of their culture doesn't mean China hasn't either. It's like a drunk person being challenged over the amount they've drunk, and them pointing to someone throwing up in the street saying "but he's drunk too!"
Why do you think "reminding" you of something smilar of yourself or Europe (for the sake of discussion) is laughable.

Who said China hasn't lost part of her culture?

Not knowing others is ignorant, not knowing one's own history is what? I will leave you to spell that word. When I say "one" I mean Europe because ONLY the whole Europe is comparable to China in terms of culture, landmass, population and regional diversity. Sorry, I can't take UK alone in the subject.

And why you suddenly become so over-sensitive? Is my presenting the facts about Europe so "offending" to you? Why do you even think I got upset in the first place? Now after reading your reply, I am very disappointed and feel sorry for you, but still not upset because nothing you said really upset me.
 
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Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
I have to laugh, whenever I get into a discussion with Chinese people or people who care deeply about China, when they get upset about something they frequently default to "you too" arguments. And that's happening here. But it's irrelevant, because the fact some countries have lost some of their culture doesn't mean China hasn't either. It's like a drunk person being challenged over the amount they've drunk, and them pointing to someone throwing up in the street saying "but he's drunk too!"
Well it is a touchy topic isn't it, because so many of China's detractors often deliberately use the "loss of culture" idea as a political vector.

I'm not saying you are, but it does mean that people have already been primed against similar phrases to what you said, and will thus react with caution.

====

As for China's culture itself, I think some elements have been lost over the years, some new elements have been created, and overall it has evolved, just like most other nations in the world.
 

taxiya

Major
Registered Member
Well it is a touchy topic isn't it, because so many of China's detractors often deliberately use the "loss of culture" idea as a political vector.

I'm not saying you are, but it does mean that people have already been primed against similar phrases to what you said, and will thus react with caution.

====

As for China's culture itself, I think some elements have been lost over the years, some new elements have been created, and overall it has evolved, just like most other nations in the world.
Evolved rather than "lost" is the best word for it. As I have said in my first post in this thread. Change is constant and absolute, and is always justified. There is nothing really lost, in the longer perspective. Not saying all changes or lost or addition are good, but nobody should keep crying against change.

And the change is universal, not limited to anyone including China, its merely a fact of nature. It is essentially the very same evolution in the animal world that human is part of. Evolution of Culture is just a part of evolution of animal world which is part of the evolution of the universe.
 

solarz

Brigadier
Evolved rather than "lost" is the best word for it. As I have said in my first post in this thread. Change is constant and absolute, and is always justified. There is nothing really lost, in the longer perspective. Not saying all changes or lost or addition are good, but nobody should keep crying against change.

And the change is universal, not limited to anyone including China, its merely a fact of nature. It is essentially the very same evolution in the animal world that human is part of. Evolution of Culture is just a part of evolution of animal world which is part of the evolution of the universe.
Of course all culture change. The idea of "losing" culture is nebulous in itself.

I was originally responding to the idea that mainland China has somehow "lost" culture compared to other Chinese communities such as Taiwan or Singapore. I wanted to point out that the mainland Chinese culture is deeper and vastly richer than any culture from overseas Chinese communities.

I'm not denigrating the culture of these communities, they are quite rich on their own, but they cannot compare to the richness of the mainland.
 

Hendrik_2000

Brigadier
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #20
Here is my response to Solarz.. Let define what is a culture
I find this definition is the most appropriate
The
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goes a step further, defining culture as shared patterns of behaviors and interactions, cognitive constructs and understanding that are learned by socialization. Thus, it can be seen as the growth of a group identity fostered by social patterns unique to the group.

You said that china still keep its culture because they still maintain the great wall and other historic relic. But that is just relic, building, place of history etc

In other word just manifestation of the culture and not the practice that goes inside this building which is the culture

When I heard about the melamine milk. I just shake my head in disbelieve How could they call themselves Chinese and do this reprehensible deed in the name of profit.
The thing is the practices is wide spread involving the farmer, the collection agency, the factory all the way to the management etc

When it is all said and done the basic teaching of Confucius is don't do to other what you don't want other do to you.

Specially for a Chinese family is the center of live and children are cherished

On this count China failed miserably. Something is definitely wrong. Don't they ever read the classic of 3 kingdom when Liu Bei against the advice of Zhou Yu attack Wu in order to exact vengeance of Kuang Yu death. Knowing well by doing it he lost the chance of restoring the Han dynasty and become the emperor himself, In order to fulfill the oath of brother hood" living together an dying together"
This act is celebrated as model of appropriateness

They need to reconnect with their past and make peace with their past.
"Without past there is no future"

Here a goo video about Chinese new year
 

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