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published: 1/20/05
updated: 12/16/13

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Chinese Religious Beliefs

Chinese religious beliefs are wide-ranging and eclectic, deriving from several religious traditions (Chinese folk religion, Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism). But several religious concepts are characteristic of general Chinese religious thought.

Chinese religion is generally dualistic, emphasizing the two opposed and complimentary principles of the universe: yin and yang. But the yin and yang are the double manifestation of the single, eternal cosmic principal: the Tao. Also important is the concept of heaven (T'ien), which is sometimes described in terms of an impersonal power or fate, other times as a personal deity, and can also be equated with the Tao.