A brief introduction to Chinese culture
China is a wonderful and awe-inspiring country. It boasts a history of more than five thousand years. Now in the world, it is the only continuous ancient civilization, while other ancient civilizations have changed, discontinued, withered or perished. Why does it have such a strong life force? Why is it so enduring? Why is it so coherent, often sticking to itself, remaining undivided? Why is it so dynamic, always able to revive, regenerate and revitalize itself? No one can give a complete answer, full stop to the above lasting questions. They will stimulate intellect, provoke interest, and engage one's investigation.
But in fact, the quintessence of culture is a key to open the door of this mysterious dragon-symbolizing country – China. Let's launch an exploration into the prime or core of Chinese culture, although it is mysterious, even inscrutable. What is Confucianism? What is Tao and non-action, non-exertion, nongovernmental in Taoism? What is the Yin-Yang theory? What is the Five-Elements theory? What is Wushu? How can a little steel needle relieve pain and cure illnesses – referring to acupuncture?
Chinese culture is rich and profound. The above-mentioned are but a few citations of the mysteries and riddles of Chinese culture, the tip of an iceberg. It has the richest historical records that are perhaps more than the whole world put together. This guess will not be far from truth. What is Chinese "Bible" – Four Book Five Jing includes ' Da Xue', ' Zhong Yong', ' Lun Yu', ' Meng-tzu', and ' Shi Jing', ' Shu Jing', ' Li Ji', ' Yi Jing', ' Chun Chiu',? What is Shi Ji? What is Zi Zhi Tong Jian? What is Sunzi Military Tactics? Moreover, it has a great deal of historical records from the pre-Christian era, not to mention the matchless twenty-six history books of the imperial dynasties. It is not the home of Buddhism, but it boasts of the richest Buddhist scriptures.
Another area of the profundity of Chinese culture is her pre-industrial revolution science and technology. This has been discovered, proved and universally accepted by the world's people as a matter of fact. The richness of Chinese culture also finds expression in its diversity and pluralism. China has always been a country of many ethnic groups. No matter which ethnic group was dominant, be it Hans, Mongols, or Manchus, her various peoples always could live under the same roof, worshipped the same emperor. It is true that there were times of division, but division was transient. There seem to be cycles of division and unification, but unification has outlived division. All these peoples have their own legacies, but they share the same legacy as well. They form the Chinese nation. The diversity and pluralism of Chinese culture is a tremendous asset. This is very keenly felt now. Increasing value is attached to this national treasure.
Many giant western intellectuals have looked up to Chinese culture. Enlightened fathers drew inspiration from Confucianism. Some contemporary philosophers and psychiatrists have found cures for western ills in Chinese mysticism, Confucian ethics and Taoist non-government. It is an impossible task to try and present such a long history of China in a few pages and hope to do it justice. But discovering ancient China is able to set up a starting point for an overview of Chinese History, particularly highlighting events and characters that are relevant as background to main influences on Chinese splendid civilization.
This handy guide will be found very informative and is particularly true of China. China differs from other cultures by its wide range of topics such as Politics, Religion, Ethics, Educators and Educational Thought, Schooling System, Great Four Inventions, Astronomy & Geography, Mathematics & Art, Navigation Technology and the like in ancient China. That is why this section contains a list of topics for further reading after each section. It is recommended that the reader use this list of links to go on to study in more detail any period they are interested in.