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(5,410 words)

Author(s): Schipper, Kristofer
1. Origin and Definition Daoism can be said to be China's own authentic religion. In spite of its long history and great influence on all aspects of China's culture and society, Daoism remains relatively little known and even less understood. The name Daoism comes from dao (written tao in the Wade-Giles transliteration) , a word that means "Way", and hence: a way to follow, a way of thought, a method, and a principle. Dao is seen as the everlasting principle at the origin of the universe; it permeates and also transcends all beings; it is at the …

Popular Religion

(3,149 words)

Author(s): Schipper, Kristofer
1. Definition and Scope "Popular religion", or "folk religion", is a modern Western construct. Introduced by European sociologists as a scientific alternative to earlier terms such as "superstitions", "folklore", or "natural religion", the concept has been gradually introduced in China, but has not yet been generally adopted. It also has been subject to divergent interpretations. Literally translated as minjian zongjiao, the Chinese term not only refers to the "popular" aspect of the traditional observances of the common people, but also stresses their …