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FEB 161910


BL 1801 .P24 1905

Parker, Edward Harper,



China and religion

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Father Hwang, secular priest (affiliated to the Jesuits) at Nanking,
a distinguished and profound theological scholar. The antique
characters signify " ancient few dwelling," i.e. " the septua-
genarian's abode," because "from ancient times but few" have
reached that age. The date in the corner is equivalent to 1899.






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Printed in Great Britain.

My affectionate old friend died at Shanghai on the
2'jth June, almost as I wrote these lines.

E. H. P.

Printed in Great Britain.


Rev. a. COLOMBEL, S.J.



Fatalis ruit hora, Leo, jam tempus abire est,

Pro meritisque viam carpere perpetuam,
Quae te sors maneat? Coelum sperare jubebant

Largus contulerat quae tibi dona Deus ;
At summas claves, immenso pondere munus

Tot tibi gestum annos — haec meditare gemens.
Qui namque in populis excelso praestat honore,

Hei misero I poenas acrius inde luet.
Haec inter trepido dulcis succurrit imago

Dulcior atque animo vox sonat alloquii :
Quid te tanta premit formido ? aevique peracti

Quid seriem repetens tristia corde foves ?
Christus adest miserans, humili veniamque roganti

Erratum — ah ! fidas — eluet omne tibi.

—{Death-bed of Pope Leo XIII).


I MUST apologise for a certain irregularity in the
spelling of Indian, Persian. Arabic, and other
foreign words. For instance, " Canouge " instead
of " Kanuj," and doubtless many others in the
same category. Not knowing any West Asian
language, I take the spelling which occurs in the
best books I have consulted, some of which are
more "up to date " than others ; or I adopt the
" usual " spelling. I have at least tried to be
consistent in my irregularity ; and, after all, in a
book on Religion, scientific spelling is not of the
essence. In Chinese words, of course, I profess
to be right according to my own ideas of what
is right ; though even here I occasionally use
well-known or "popular" forms.


1 8 Gambier Terrace,
Liverpool, 2()th June 1905.


In giving a list of "authorities" which may be
usefully consulted, I do not profess to have drawn
up a complete list, or to have always accepted any
one as an authority myself, where I have found it
possible to go further back. The ultimate or most
remote authority is, of course, always the best.
For instance, in the case of Taoism, the Chinese
authors are absolutely the sole original authorities,
and the translators and opinionists can at best have
but secondary value ; in this particular instance, I
chiefly recognise as possessing sterling collateral
value the opinions of M. Chavannes, as given in
his masterly introduction to the Shi-ki {M^moires
Historiques) of Sz-ma Ts'ien ; and to a certain
extent also the opinions of the late Mr Faber, as
published in various numbers of the China Review ;
because they two alone appear to me to have
conscientiously, and with full competence, examined
all the Chinese originals they could get hold of
in an unbiassed spirit. I regard M. Chavannes
as the soundest and most industrious of living
sinologists. The religious works of the venerable
Paul Hwang (now approaching his 8oth year) are
very profound, and of course no European can


pretend to his wide capacity for research ; but
then he is a priest, and can only pubHsh what his
masters, the Jesuits, approve ; still, he appears to
me to be a man of wonderfully clear and honest
views, nor have I ever discovered any hiding away
of the truth in his writings. In the same way Dr
Legge, whose knowledge of the Chinese classics
was unequalled, had always to approach the subject
of religion as a missionary, and no doubt as a
convinced one; hence his "detachment" was not
complete. No one has done greater general
service to sinology, including, indirectly, religious
sinology, than the late Dr Bretschneider ; but (as
he frequently told me himself) he was largely
inspired by Palladius, a student of original texts
of vast and retentive memory ; and over and over
again he honestly repudiated the "charge" of
being a first-hand sinologist. It does not, how-
ever, appear to me to matter much whether a
man is a blacksmith or a sinologist, so long as
he discovers the means and possesses the aptitude
for forming and expressing sound opinions on
accepted facts, supported by all available evi-
dence ; and, after all, "sinologists" are only those
European students who have gone a certain
modest distance — very modest — in the direction
of consulting Chinese literature without native
aid. I am one of these, but I often feel that I
have not gone so far as I might have gone, and
that even a long life will not enable any of us
to go very far with present appliances. But these


appliances are being added to every day, and
each successive Qreneration will find that the
clearances made in the jungle of neglected litera-
ture by his predecessors do materially shorten his

E. H. Parker.

Shi-ki {'B.C. 4000-B.C. 90), Chapters i.-iv., diVid. passifu.

Les Saintes Instructions de LEmpereur Hong-wou.

By Edouard Chavannes, Hanoi : F. H. Schneider, 1903.

Les Memoires historiques de Sz-ma TsHen.

By Edouard Chavannes, Paris : Ernest Leroux, 1 895-1 901.

Han Shu (Han Dynasty, B.C. 206-A.D. i.), Chapter Ixxxviii.

Nan 5/«' (Nanking Dynasties, A.D. 420-580), Chapter Ixxv.

Taoism and the Tao-teh King.

By E. H. Parker, "Dublin Review," July-January, 1903-1904.

Life, Labours, and Doctrines of Co7tfucius.

By E. H. Parker, "Asiatic Quarterly Review," April 1897.

Li-k''uh (Recesses of Truth), "Catholic Press," Shanghai, 1886.

The Ephthalite Turks.

By E. H. Parker, "Asiatic Quarterly Review," July 1902.

Hou Han Shu (Later Han, a.d. 2^-220), passim.

Tsih-shuioh Ts''iian-chen (Eclectic Truth).

By Rev. Paul Hwang, "Catholic Press," Shanghai, 1879.

Vie, ou L^gefide, de Gaudama (second edition).

By Monsigneur p. Bigandet, Paris : Ernest Leroux, 1878.

Sui Shu (Sui Dynasty, a.d. 580-618), Chapter xxxv.

Handbook of Chinese Buddhism.

By E. J. ElTEL, Hongkong : Lane Crawford & Co., 1870.

(Le Bouddhisme Chinois, Museon, Louvain, 1903.
Chinese Buddhism, "Asiatic Quarterly Review," October 1902.
Both by E. H. PARKER (translated by M. de la V. POUSSIN).

Tsin Shu (Tsin Dynasties, A.D. 265-317-420), jzJa.yj'z'w.
Wei C^i(Wei Dynasty, A.D. 220-265) Chapter xxx.

Chinese Knowledge of Early Persia.

By E. H. Parker, "Asiatic Quarterly Review," January 1903.


:r^ -Jf } (T'ang Dynasty, a.d. 618-905) {^l^^]'' ^'^^^:.
r'anp- Snu) I Chapter ccxvii.

Old T\

New T'ang Shu) ^ ° j - j^ ^ j' (chapte

Wei Shu (Toba Tartars, a.d. 386-550) Chapter cxiv.

Musulmans et Manicheens chinois.

By Gabriel Dev^ria, Paris : Imprimerie Nationale, 1898.

Le Nestorianisme et rinscription de Kara-balgassoun.

By Edouard ChavanneS, Paris : Imprimerie Nationale, 1897.

Videe du PdchS chez les Indo-Eraniens de t antiquity.
By L. C. Ca.sartelli, Fribourg (Suisse), 1898.

The Magi, a footnote to Matthew ii. i.

By L. C. Casartelli, " Dublin Review, ' October 1902.

The Early Christian Road to China.

By E. H. Parker, "Asiatic Quarterly Review," October 1903.

China, the Avars, and the Franks.

By E. H. Parker, "Asiatic Quarterly Review," April 1902.

Services of Turks in joining Civilizations.

By E. H. Parker, "Asiatic Quarterly Review," April 1904.

La StUe Chritienne de Si-ngan-Fou.

By Henri Havret, S.J., "Catholic Press," Shanghai, 1895, 1897.

Notes on the Nestoria?is in China.

By E. H. Parker, Royal Asiatic Society, Shanghai, 1890.

The Nestorian Tablet.

By E. H. Parker, " Dublin Review," October 1902.

Origine de P/slajftisfue en Chine.

By Gabriel Deveria, Paris : Imprimerie Nationale, 1895.

Inscriptions Juives de K'ai-fong-fou.

By Jerome Tobar, SJ., "Catholic Press," Shanghai, 1900.

History of the Churches in China.

By E. H. Parker, China Mail Office, Hongkong, 1896.
Yiian ^^i' (Mongols, A.D. 1206-1368), Chapters i.-xi., cxxv., passim.

Calendrier-Annuaire for 1904- 1905.
"Catholic Press," Shanghai, 1905.

Notes depigraphie Mongole-Chinoise.

By Gabriel Deveria, Paris : Imprimerie Nationale, 1897.

Inscriptions it pihes de chancellerie chinoises de lepoque mongole.

By Edouard Chavannes, Leide : E. J. Brill, 1905.
Historia Ecclesiarum Sinarmn Societati Missionum ad Exteros

By Edm. Wallays, Penang (about) 1880.


Marco Polo, Marsden's and Yule's editions, 1877 and 1903.

Notices of MedicEval Geography.

By E. Bretschneider, Shanghai Royal Asiatic Society, 1876.

Chinese Recorder and Missionary Journal, passim.

"Presbyterian Mission Press," Shanghai, 1868-1904.

Russian Ecclesiastical Mission.

By John Dudgeon, "Chinese Recorder," Shanghai, 1870-1871.

Russia and China.

By E. H. Parker, "Asiatic Quarterly Review," January 1905.

Revival of Pure Shifitau.

By E. M. Satow, Japan Asiatic Society, 1874.


By B. H. Chamberlain, Japan Asiatic Society, 1882.



Introduction i



Untutored man and his spiritual fancies. — Comparison with
the finer instincts of animals. — First Chinese dual con-
ception of theyin and yang- principles. — Influence of the
five elements. — Conciliating the Spirits of Good and
Evil. — Observations drawn from the order of Nature. —
The application of Music as a test or measure. —
Civilisation confined to the central parts of what we
now call China. — Early rulers not necessarily hereditary :
origin of the term " Son of Heaven." — Filial piety and
ancestral worship. — Ritual duties to manes. — Definitions
of Heaven. — No dogma or mystery. — Folk-lore and
superstition stand apart. — The idea was to conform
human conduct to Nature. — Legendary period ends B.C.
2200. — Two later dynasties covering a thousand years :
no great progress in religious thought. — Nine Virtues,
and Sin. — The three principal powers, Heaven, Earth,
Man. — Portable gods. — Evil rulers chastised by Heaven.
— Rulers arebut links in Nature's chain.— T^rt?, or "correct
road." — Evil end of the second of the two hereditary
dynasties.—" Book of Changes," or " Philosophy of
Nature."— Real history begins with the Chou dynasty,
B.C. II22. — Kings replace "Sons of Heaven." — Religious
ideas remain essentially the same ; purely Chinese. —
Heaven confirms new dynasties ; appeals to Heaven. —
Importance of sacrifices. — Exact chronology begins B.C.
841.— Religious ties always practical and political.— No
terror of after life, or conception of a jealous God.— New
marriage laws and extensions of worship. — Possibility,
not probability, of Tartar influence.— Refinement in
ceremonies.— Disunion sets in.— Taoism and Con-
fucianism both attempt to arrest politico-religious decay.
— Both apostles work on purely Chinese old texts. — One
was radical, the other conservative ; neither was piously
religious in the Western sense 17






The old literature and spiritual thought. — The mass of
popular life still primitive. — The classical foundations of
religious thought. — Astrologer and Historian the same,
because Man works on Heaven's lines. — Lao-tsz, or
Laocius, the Apostle of Taoism, was such. — Military
strife causes a longing for spirtual peace. — Old religious
thoughts with novel interpretations. — The masses are of
Heaven as much as the classes. — Laocius leaves China
in disgust. — His evolution compared with that of Spencer
{vide Appendix). — The influence of cultured Taoism
greater than that of Confucius ; a fortiori than of
Buddhism. — Laocius was for Home Rule : he dis-
approved of learning as such. — Fill the stomach, and the
soul will take care of itself. — Prepared to fight for pure
principle : a soldier's honour : no joy in warfare as such.
— Government a necessary evil ; Laocius no anarchist.
— Objects to imperial blustering ; glorifies self-eftace-
ment. — The philosophy of Marcus Aurelius. — Nothing
said of Faith, Prayer, Dogma, or Piety. — Justice and
benevolence are a kind of complacent hypocrisy. — No
punishments in future life ; no sin or crime except as
against Nature. — Virtues connote vices ; better be
without either. — Woman's place in Laocius' scheme ;
an indispensable "functionary." — All pleasures are
subjective, and human life is consciousness ; the enduring
of the body of minor importance. — Laocius' interviews
with Confucius. — Laocius induced to write a book before
disappearing into space {vide Appendix). — Traditions of
a connection between Laocius and Buddha. — Laocius
and Taoism both purely Chinese, and of undoubted
authenticity : his imitators all inferior. — Degenerate
modern Taoism : medical admixture : origin of elixir
quackery. — Taoism exploited by mischievous ambitions.
— Destruction of literature in B.C. 213. — Rivalry of
Confucianism, and then of Buddhism. — Cumbrousness
of ancient books. — Most modern Chinese virtues may be
traced through Taoism. — Humility the key. — The Pope
of Rome in 1905 speaks as a Taoist 32





K'ung-tsz, or Confucius, also an archivist, but local : had an
inborn taste for ceremonies. — Sketch of his life : his
visit to Laocius. — The two philosophers do not admire
each other. — Confucius worked on old texts : places
wherein he dififers from Laocius. — No theory of rewards
and punishments in a future life : he was political and
practical. — No Western philosopher exactly resembles
him. — A Jesuit's appreciation of his " religion." — As a
historian. — Dies a disappointed reformer. — At first over-
whelmed by Taoism. — Other competing philosophies. —
The " First Emperor," resolves to be rid of learned men.
— Taoism not under the ban which was laid upon
Confucian literature. — Comparison with Alexander the
Great's destruction of Mazdean books. — Up to this time
the Chinese had never conceived of a religion in the
Western sense. — No " miracles," salvation, or " love of
God." — History of Confucius after his death. — His works
and failure. — Anarchy of the period B.C. 470-220. — Era
of contentious philosophy. — Unification of China. —
Destruction of Literature. — Survival of the Taoist classic.
— Summing up of the subject of religion previous to our
era — Political use made of Confucius. — Chu Hi's revival
of Confucianism. — Mongol ignorance. — Attitude of the
Manchus 51



Results of the Great Chinese Revolution. — Confucius
begins to be recognised. — Religions hitherto viewed as
" crafts." — The ground favourable for the introduction of
Buddhism. — Chinese conquests cause contact with the
Indo-Scythians ; various foreign notions about religion
observed. — Rumours concerning Hindoo culture. — An
Emperor's dream interpreted to mean Buddha. — Mission
to India, and return of Hindoo priests with books. — The
Indo-Scythians first told the Chinese of Buddhism. — A
Scythian " idol " or effigy confused with Buddha. — How
the Indo-Scythians received Buddhism from the Indus.



— Impossibility of Buddhism reaching China by land
before A.D. i. — The Emperor's brother converted ; rivalry
of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism at Court. —
Buddhism discredited for a century. — Taoism begins to
borrow from Buddhism in order to compete with it. —
More Buddhists from India, Parthia, and the Oxus. —
More sfitras translated. — New ideas about souls and
future existence ; and about alphabets. — Sympathy
between Chinese and Hindoo ideas. — Some slight
ground for ascribing Buddhism to Laocius. — Celibacy
and transmigration of souls the chief novelty. — Ideas
about women suit the Chinese. — Not antagonist to
Taoism. — Definition of the various forms of Buddhism
that found favour in and around China. — Distinction
between the higher and the popular forms of one and
the same religion. — Buddhists by the sea route, and
China divided into three empires. — Magadhaand South-
west China. — Adventurer dynasties under Buddhist
spell. — Political influence in North China of Buddho-
chingaand Kumaradjiva. — Travels of the Chinese pilgrim
Fah Hien. — No persecution in China.— A statesman's
comparison with Taoism. — Fifth century revival of
Taoism. — First persecutions. — Travels of Sung Yiin.
— An Emperor assumes the cowl. — Vicissitudes of
Buddhism and Taoism.— China once more united. —
The illustrious T'ang dynasty. — Vicissitudes of
Buddhism during the various Tartar and Chinese
dynasties from A.D. 960 to now. — Chu Hi's revivalism
and Confucian " Orthodoxy." — Genghis and Kublai
Khans. — Mongol Buddhomania 72



Shocking impressions left on the Chinese mind by Tartar
religious practices. — Enumeration of marriage, funeral,
and other rites. — Early Corean and Japanese religious
notions. — Gradually increasing knowledge in China of
the religious customs of the nations on the great Asiatic
high roads. — Introduction of a new Chinese word to
signify " Heaven-spirit (of foreigners)."— Indications of
early Terzai, or Christians, in the Samarcand region. —
Fire-worship widely extended. — Polyandry among the



later Indo-Scythians or Eptals. — Doubtful Buddhism in
Persia itself. — Development of religion in the
Transoxiana region subject to the Western Turks. —
Wars between the Turks and Persia. — Establishment of
Mazdean and Manichean temples in the Chinese capital.
— Flight of a Persian prince to China. — Chinese con-
fusion of the two Persian religions with Nestorianism,
and of all three with Buddhism. — Chinese definition of
Manichean tenets. — Tesh, the One-eyed, sends a
mathematician from Tokhara to discuss religion. — The
Ouigours admit Manicheism into Tartary ; they obtain
permission to extend the religion into Central China. —
Indebtedness of the Chinese to the Ouigours, who were
protectors of Manicheism. — Object probably to provide
religious services for Persian traders coming by sea. —
Manicheans act as diplomatists in arranging diplomatic
marriages between Ouigour and Chinese princely pairs.
— Ouigours burn the most ancient Buddhist monastery.
— At least seven Manichean monasteries in China. —The
Kirghiz crush the Ouigour power ; vae victis for the
Manichean sectaries. — Persecution of other religions at
the same time. — Disappearance of Manicheism from
China. — Continues for several centuries in Ouigour land lo



After Struggling with Manicheans in Persia, Nestorians
renew the competition in China. — In 638 the Emperor
of China formally admits the Nestorians as " Persian
bonzes." — Phraseology borrowed from Taoism and
Buddhism.— The stone still in situ which defines the
Christianity of those days. — The Messiah born from a
Virgin in Ta-ts'in : the Persian Magi come with
offerings. — Shaving of the head. — Historical details
strictly corroborated by standard Chinese history. — The
first Nestorian, Alopen, arrived in 635. — Nestorian
priests called " High Virtues," or " Great Virtues," equal
to "Very Reverend." — Many points in the modern
Christian doctrine left out. — Close historical proofs of
the authenticity of the facts given in the Nestorian stone.
— The Syrian inscriptions on the stone corroborate or
are corroborated by Chinese or Western evidence. —



Competing religions during the T'ang dynasty. — Con-
fucian hostility to Buddhism at the time when
Nestorianism flourished. — The Empress of China an
ex-nun. — Favours corrupt Buddhism ; no evidence that
the Nestorians excited any direct hostility. — Religious
observances of the Northern Turks. — Confucianist
remonstrances against Buddhism. — A good-natured
Chinese Emperor now favours all religions. — Manichean
opportunities, and Nestorians in favour. — Denunciation
of the Buddha's Bone mummery. — Enormous increase in
the number of Buddhist monasteries and nunneries. —
More persecutions by a Taoist Emperor. — Doubtful if
Nestorians were involved. — "Great Virtues" sent to
China from India. — Malabar Rites question. — Pope
Pius X. and the Malabar mission . . . . 120



The religion which has taken firmest root has been the least
described. — Chinese Mussulmans a serious and virile
class. — The story begins with the conquest of Persia by
the Arabs. — Embassy to China from the Caliph Othman.
— Chinese historical description of the Arabs and
Mohammed. —Refusal of the Arab envoy to kneel except
to Heaven. — Arab and Ouigour rivalry at the Chinese
court. — Attack upon Canton by sea-borne Arab and
Persian soldiers ; resulting possibility of there being early
mosques at Canton. — Strange silence on the part of
Chinese historians. — First Chinese mention of the only
word meaning " Mussulmans." — How a confusion arose
in the terminology. — General sketch of Mussulman
doings during the Mongol dynasty. — General sketch of
Ouigour doings. — No reasonable ground to confuse the
two. — Disappearance of overt Islam from China during
the Ming dynasty. — Continues in vigour along the land
and sea roads from Persia to China. — Probable quiet
infiltration of Islam into Yiin Nan and Kan Suh. —
Chinese lesson in tolerance to mediaeval Europe. —
Mussulmans under the Manchu dynasty. — Priestly caste
of rulers under Eleuth suzerainty gradually replaces the
old Mongol rulers. — Chinese conquest of the Mussulman
states. — Reaction upon the Mussulmans (Dungans) of



Chinese race. — The Salar Mussulman malcontents. —
The Panthays of Yiin Nan. — Character of Chinese
Mussulmans in Manchuria and North China. — The
mosques of Canton. — Importation of Turkestan Mussul-
mans into Peking 150 years ago. Peking mosque and
imperial dedication. — Extraordinary imperial blunder
about Ouigour indtii and Mussulman mollas. — Alleged
old mosques at Nanking and Si-an Fu.— General sketch
of the position of Mussulmans in China. — Comparison
with other religions 139



May be said to have disappeared with the year 1900. —
Persian Jews arrive in 1163; positive evidence. — Stone
tablet records descent from Adam, Abraham, Moses,
etc. — Tao once more introduced to explain the doctrine.
— Dates from the Chou dynasty. — Jewish fasts
commanded. — The first synagogue at K'ai-feng Fu. —
Repaired during Mongol rule. — Ming dynasty tolerant
towards the Jews ; they repair the synagogue. —
Destroyed by a flood. — Native Jewish comparison of
Judaism with other religions. — Trims the faith to suit
Chinese ideas. — Evidence of Persian origin ; other Jews
said to be in China. — Transmission through Noah,
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Aaron, to Joshua
and Esdras. — Further compromise with Chinese
doctrines, and claim for higher antiquity in China. —
Destruction by inundation at the close of the Ming
dynasty. — Rebuilding of the synagogue under the
Manchu rule. — No real evidence of any Judaism in
China anterior to 1163. — How Ricci 300 years ago first
heard of these Jews ; and of others at Hangchow. —
P^re Trigault's special opportunities for examining the
Nestorian and Jewish stones. — Protestant Bishop of
Hongkong sends to make enquiry. — Some of the Jews
come to Shanghai. — Disappearance of the synagogue.
— Rev. W. A. P. Martin himself visits the Jews in 1866.
— Unsympathetic attitude of the Moslems. Total
degeneration of the last surviving Jews. Effects of the
T'ai-p'ing rebellion. — Other recent visitors to the site. —
More Jews visit Shanghai, and the Jewish merchants

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Online LibraryEdward Harper ParkerChina and religion → online text (page 1 of 23)