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Among the many social, political, and ideological changes that took place during the period covered by this volume, none matches in impact or endurance those brought about in the realm of religion. We need recall here only a few of the changes: with increasing acceptance of Buddhism from roughly the third through the seventh centuries, Chinese gained new notions of the self, of time and cosmos, and of postmortem existence, and new possibilities for voluntary social organization. With the birth and growth of the Daoist religion, which began as an attempt to establish a kingdom, but ended as something we would recognize as a religious organization, China gained its first native translocal religion. This religion, too, introduced novel conceptions of the human body, of time, of cosmos, and of celestial hierarchies, both independently and in response to Buddhist innovations. Through these developments, Chinese culture was changed profoundly. To name but one indicator of this, in the second century ce, religious organizations were local and community-based.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge History of China
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 2, The Six Dynasties, 220-589
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781139107334
ISBN (Print)9781107020771
StatePublished - Oct 28 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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