Chinese folk religion is the underlying belief system of more than a billion people. Wherever there is a Chinese community there are temples and shrines with altars, statues and paper images. But how do these beliefs connect to Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism? This book explains the building blocks of this religion, touching upon anthropology, history, numerology, feng shui, mythology, nature cults and ancestor worship. Includes colour images of the major gods of the Chinese pantheon.
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Jonathan Chamberlain was brought up in Ireland and Hong Kong. After graduating in Social Anthropology at Sussex University, he returned to Hong Kong where he lived for many years as a teacher and writer. He is now a full time author. His other works include "King Hui: The Man Who Owned All the Opium in Hong Kong" and "Cancer: The Complete Recovery Guide". In addition to his writing work he has founded two charities: The Hong Kong Down Syndrome Association and Mental Handicap Network China Ltd.Review:
Chamberlain explores, with tremendous respect for his subject matter, Chinese gods and deities, and the interwoven history and mythology that supports this remarkably enduring pantheon. The observant will notice these gods in restaurants, coffee shops and even offices, in any Southeast Asian city with a sizeable Chinese population. Mr Chamberlain explains, in engaging, flowing prose, just who these immortals are. And as a result, the scope of this book is amazing -- millennia of dynasties, the complex psyche of the world's most populous nation, the supernatural, anthropology, mythology, numerology, feng shui and all the other underpinnings of Greater China's disparate -- but today, remarkably integrated -- belief systems, including Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, nature cults and ancestor worship. For the Sinologist, this offering is akin to some imperial feast where one can gorge on anything within reach. And even for the casual reader, this is a hugely satisfying book. --Bangkok Post, March 22, 2009
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