China is a country with a great diversity of religions, with over
100 million followers of the various faiths. The main religions are Buddhism,
Islam, Christianity, China's indigenous Taoism, along with Shamanism, Eastern
Orthodox Christianity and the Naxi people's Dongba religion. The Hui, Uygur,
Kazak, Kirgiz, Tatar, Uzbek, Tajik, Dongxiang, Salar and Bonan peoples adhere
to Islam; the Tibetan, Mongolian, Lhoba, Moinba, Tu and Yugur peoples, to
Tibetan Buddhism (also known as Lamaism); and the Dai, Blang and Deang peoples
to Theravada Buddhism. Quite a few Miao, Yao and Yi people are Christians.
Religious Han Chinese tends to practice Buddhism, Christianity or Taoism.
Buddhism was introduced to China from India approximately in the 1st
century AD, becoming increasingly popular and the most influential religion in
China after the 4th century. Tibetan Buddhism, as a branch of Chinese Buddhism,
is popular primarily in Tibet and Inner Mongolia. Now China has more than
13,000 Buddhist temples.
Islam probably first reached China in the mid-7th century. The Yuan
Dynasty (1271-1368) witnessed the zenith of prosperity of Islam. Now China has
more than 30,000 mosques. Catholic influence reached China several times after
the seventh century, and Protestantism was introduced into China in the early
19th century. Now there are more than 4,600 Catholic churches and over 12,000
Protestant churches and over 25,000 other types of protestant places of worship
Taoism probably took shape as a religion during the second century,
based on the philosophy of Lao Zi (traditionally said to be born in 604 BC) and
his work, the Dao De Jing (Classic of the Way and Virtue). China now has more
than 1,500 Taoist temples.
exact time of the introduction of Buddhism into China is hard to be
ascertained. At its early years after introduction, Buddhism did not have much
is said that in the year 2BC, Yi Cun, an emissary of Dayuezhi Kingdom (an
ancient mid-Asian country established by a strong Chinese minority originally
living in northern China and later moved to the west), arrived in Chang'an
(today's Xi'an City), capital of China at the time. He dictated Buddhism to
Doctor Jing Lu. And this is the first record about the introduction of Buddhism
is another saying that during the reign of the Indian King Asoka (272-226 BC),
18 Indians visited China's Xianyang City during the reign of Qin Emperor
Shihuang (the first ever emperor of the Qin Dynasty, 246-210 BC, and therefore
the first ever emperor of feudal China). In the year 250BC, King Asoka convoked
the third conference and, after the conference, Dade was sent to spread
Buddhism to other countries including China.
Four holy mountains:
Wutai Mountain: The bodhimandala of Manjusri (Wenshu/Ultimate
Knowledge) Bodhisattva, situated in Wutai County, Shanxi province.
Emei Mountain: The bodhimandala of Samantabhadra (Puxian/Universal
Benevolence) Bodhisattva, situated in Emei Shan City, Sichuan Province.
Putuo Mountain: The bodhimandala of Avalokitesvara (Guanyin/Mercy) Bodhisattva, situated on an island of Zhoushan Archipelago,
Hangzhou Bay, Zhejiang Province.
Jiuhua Mountain: The bodhimandala of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva,
situated in Qingyang County, Chizhou City, Anhui Province.
Four most famous grottoes:
The Mogao Grottoes : Start from 336 AD, located in the southeast of
Dunhuang City, Gansu Province.
Yungang Grottoes: Start from 460 AD, located in the west of Datong
City ,Shanxi Province.
The Longmen Grottoes: Start from 494 AD, located in the south of
Luoyang City, Henan Province.
Maijishan Grottoes: Start from the 3rd century AD,
located in the southeast of Tianshui City, Gansu Province
Baima (White Horse) Temple: The very first official Buddhism temple
in China, situated in the east of Luoyang City, Henan Province.
Xuanzhong Temple: It is one of birthplaces of Jingtu (Pure Land)
Sect, situated on Shibi Mountain in the northwest of Jiaocheng County, Shanxi
Lingyin Temple: One of big ten temples of Buddhism's Chan Sect (Zen)
in China, situated in the northwest of West Lake, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang
Famen Temple: A Holy Land of Buddhism because of the finger bone
relic of Sakyamuni, situated at Famen Town, Fufeng County, Shaanxi Province.
Kaiyuan Temple: The largest temple in Fujian Province, has strong
influence upon Taiwan and overseas Buddhists, situated in West Street of
Quanzhou City, Fujian Province.
Shaolin Temple: It is the birthplace of Buddhism's Chan Sect (Zen)
in China as well as the cradle of China's ShaolinWushu(martial arts), is
located at Dengfeng County, Henan Province.
Daci’en Temple: The largest as well as one of the three Buddhist
scriptures translation places in Tang Dynasty, located in the southern suburb
of Xi'an City, Shaanxi Province.
Guoqing Temple: The cradle of Buddhism's Tiantai Sect in China and
Japan, located at the foot of the Tiantai Mountain, Zhejiang Province.
Wanfo Temple: The birthplace of Buddhism's Huangbo Sect in Japan, located
at Yuxi Town, Fuqing County, Fujian Province.
Xinjiao Temple: The buried place of the bone relics of Xuanzang, situated
at Chang'an County in the south of Xi'an City, Shaanxi Province.
Tibetan Buddhism, also known as Lamaism, is a form of Mahayana
Buddhism that developed in Tibet and spread to neighboring countries of the
Himalayas. Tibetan Buddhism is known for its rich mythology and iconography and
for the practice of identifying the reincarnations of deceased spiritual
Tibetan Buddhism has exerted extensive and profound influence on the
Tibetan race. Buddhism spread into Tibet in the 7th century, and gradually
infiltrates Tibet's history, politics, economics, culture, exchanges and habits
and customs to become the most extensively worshipped religion of Tibetans.
Potala palace: It combines the functions of a palace, castle and temple into
one magnificent building, it is considered as the pearl of Tibet, situated in
the red hills of Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region.
temple: It is the spiritual center of
Tibet, situated at the center of the old Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region.
Drepung monastery: The largest of all Tibetan monasteries
,located on the Gambo Utse mountain, 5 kilometers from the western suburb of Lhasa.
monastery: One of the Big Six Monasteries of the Gelug sect of Buddhism in
Tibet, located at the foot of Drolmari (Tara's Mountain), Shigatse, Tibet
monastery: The birthplace of Tsong Kha-pa, the founder of the yellow sect,
situated in Huangzhong County, Xining City, Qinghai Province.
Lama Temple (Yonghegong): It is the largest and best-preserved lamasery in
monastery: Labrang Monastery is the largest school of Lamaism outside of Lhasa,
situated among hills southwest of Lanzhou City, Gansu Province.
its foundation in Shundi (an emperor) period (126 - 144 AD) of East Han
Dynasty, Taoism has had a history of more than 1,800 years, or more loosely
speaking, a history of over 2,000 years.
basic ideas of Taoism are Changsheng (long living), Shen (god),
and Xian (immortal), etc.
During its popularization since its birth,
Taoism had long been a kind of high-level culture, and widely pursued by the
upper-class society. Consequently, many leaders of Taoism had gained respects
from the imperial governments. However, since the 12th century, Taoism began to
decline due to its own reasons, the attitude change of the government as well
as the revival of other religions. From then on, Taoism started to spread in
the lower-class society, and its witchcraft elements facilitated its influence
on the folk society.
Four holy mountains:
Longhu Mountain: The originated place of Taoism, situated in Yingtan
City, Jiangxi Province.
Qingcheng Mountain: One of the birthplaces of Taoism, situated in
Dujiangyan City, Sichuan Province.
Qiyun Mountain: Situated in Xiuning County, Anhui Province.
Wudang Mountain: one of the most famous sacred places of Taoism,
also famous for its Tai-chi Chuan, situated in Shiyan City, Hubei Province.
Dongyue Temple: The temple has distinctive characteristics among the
Taoist buildings around China, located to the east of Puxian County ,Shanxi Province.
Tongbai Palace: One of the famous Taoist temples in southern China, situated
at the famous scenic spot Tiantai Mountain in Zhejiang Province.
Qingyang Palace: The oldest and largest Taoist temple in southwest
China, situated in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province.
Wahuang Palace: The earliest and largest ancient building used to
enshrine Goddess NvWa, located at Shexian County, Hebei Province.
Taiqing Palace: A famous Taoist temple of the Longmen Sub-Sect of
the Quanzhen Sect, situated at Shenyang City, Liaoning Province.
Tianhou Palace in Tianjin: The palace was a center of marine
sacrifice in the past dynasties, situated at the middle section of the Ancient
Culture Street, Nankai District.
Penglai Pavilion: One of the most famous architectural complex in
China, situated on the seashore cliff at the north of Penglai City, Yantai of
Baiyun Temple: One of the most famous Holy Lands of Taoism in China,
located at the Xibianmenwai Avenue in Beijing City.
Xuanmiao Taoist Temple: The first ancient Taoist temple in the south
of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, located at Suzhou City, Jiangsu
from other religions, Islam is mainly disseminated through kinship. Especially
when the original Muslims came to China, they had not formed an independent
organization or a nationality, and rites and customs became an effective way of
communication and the tie of unification.
Islam was an exotic culture and Muslims were immigrants, there were inevitable
conflicts between the Han people and the Muslims. This, in turn, made the
Muslims more persistent on their rites and customs to avoid assimilation.
the development of Islam in China, there are three types of religious
leadership came into being, namely the single-leader system, double-leader
system and triple-leader system.
Niujie mosque: It is a sign of the spread of Islam in China in the
early period, Liao Dynasty (916-1125), located at Xuanwu District of Beijing
Huajuexiang mosque: The Huajuexiang Mosque once established a
university of lections in the history, located at Huajue Lane in Xi'an City,
Jingjue mosque: One of the most important Islamic buildings in China,
located at the Sanshan Street, the suburb of Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province.
Qingjing mosque:Qne of the four major mosques along the coastal area
of Southeast China, located in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province.
Huaisheng mosque:One of the four great mosques along the coastal
area of Southeast China, located in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province.
Nanguan mosque:One of the largest mosques in the Ningxia Hui
Autonomous Regionin North China, located in Yinchuan City.
Aitiga mosque: The largest mosque in Xinjiang, located at Aitiga
Square in Hashi downtown of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
（Related Reading: chinaculture.org)