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Q: As a predominantly secular country, what are Chinese attitudes towards death?

I know they burn paper money to respect deceased relatives, but is it because they believe in an after-life or are they purely atheist and just do it because it's a cultural ritual?

8 years 47 weeks ago in  Culture - China

 
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It depends - whose death? People they don't know - bah who cares! Someone close to them, devastating.

But, from another aspect, many here are still superstitious, and will believe that the spirits of those who have passed over are still around here. They will do things to keep the memory of their ancestors positive, and to give them a good afterlife.

I suspect for many, it's merely a cultural norm. Do people really believe that the number 4 is unlucky because it's like their word for death? No, that's silly... until. I think, it's what makes them feel like they are 'traditional' and 'Chinese' by holding onto these beliefs.

Many I talk to about this topic tend to be Buddhist (of a more secular variety), or believe in a Christian-type god, and some who believe in spirits. But also, many are atheists, and things like Tomb-Sweeping day is just a tradition to keep up (and a holiday). Also, all that noise and fireworks during a shop opening - it's just marketing, not scaring away bad spirits.

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8 years 47 weeks ago
 
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Shining_brow was quite clear about it, so I will just add the following.
According to which aspect of life, a Chinese is confronted, it would turn either to Confucianism (education, family, ancestors), Taoism (health, disease) and eventually Buddhism practices or beliefs when it's related to birth (medallion on a new-born ankle), life (fortune, wealth, happiness, etc) and death (ceremony, after death practices).
So when somebody dies, Buddhist prayers would help the dead person to find peace in the after-life.
There is then a notion of after-life, but it's not the same conception as Christians or Muslims, it's a half way betwen the cult of ancestors and Buddhist's reincarnation.

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8 years 47 weeks ago
 
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The Chinese in my experience dont like to talk about death. If spoken about, they tend to think it will make it occur.

Now you us crazy  westerners., we tend to have that gallows humor. "We all hang together, or surely we will hang one by one". "What, do you want to live forever?"

They dont appreciate that over here.

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8 years 47 weeks ago
 
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There is a little divergence regard to shining-brow’ answer which I want to make it clarified.
We Chinese’s reactions toward people’s death do depend on the person in question. But the result seems in a larger extent to be varied emotions, hardly nothing. It can be crushing (often direct relatives), lament (work-, or life-confidant), painful sorrow (general friends or acquaintance), regretful sadness(for the most common person who may just get heard about such significant ‘event’ and some gracefully or simply quite plainly life deeds belonging to the deceived ), and of course sometime curiosity shows strongly in some special events( good chat-materials for several days or even taken as ‘someday-useful’ memory). Above all, it can scarcely occur to a stereotypical Chinese that he just think ‘I do not care’, scenes that often can be seen in American TV show or movies.
That’s Okay, but Why? Because traditionally, I add this adverb because tradition’s suffered undermining, the dominating notion, ideal, perspective is not kind of subject-to-subject, subject-to-object, or objectification orientation in western cultural cultivation. The infused living environment, in Chinese cognitional significance, in which we are brought up edifies a sort of inborn spiritual source of synchronization or integralization, called ‘天人合一’ in Chinese. It is a spiritual level somewhat transcendental but never with sth transcendental. Different lives (here mean person in corresponding western significance) inherit, again not possessed, different thickness of such level. You should notice that such differentiation is just varied situation within same level or realm. Every cognitional image originated from this spiritual level can be described as certain orientation of mentality, again not from some corporeal heart or objective conception-mind in Cartesian sense. Such cognition pattern infused determined knowledge with spiritual or emotional irritation. Their temporal sequence is not worth considered in a Chinese person’s sense. If we were to hear someone quite general to us has passed away, our heart would usually immediately incur a varied extent of mental bump; and then it depends on our affairs in hand to decide whether inquire further more. So, we Chinese indeed hate to talk about such topic in the scientific, theoretical attitude. Even when it comes to a casual chat we consciously hold it as sth separated from the safe comfortable fundamentally reality- the spiritual level mentioned above, appearing as ‘heaven天’ in speech or language.
   Time limited. I will give another short message, sites belonging to those passing away often thought with Buddhistic transmigrations ‘輪回’ and Taoist deity system. But such inferring haven’t been or even cannot been taken as a question seriously, it is just sort of spiritual inference from our living being integrated with spirits. We may talk about how to judge the deceived, then how should we live in the present and future given his or her spiritual significance, which often resulted as moral teaching.     
  All right, time limited. If you have any further interest on this topic, Not A QUESTION TO CHINESE, contact me with this e-mail addresszailushangdecizai@hotmail.com
 
Personally speaking, I do not see any fundamental difference lies in the reaction when directed to our beloved persons.

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8 years 47 weeks ago

love Chinese particular wisdom and magnificent insight of Buddhism.

 
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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6056715/Doctors-allowed-end-lives-patients-dementia-degenerative-diseases.html

 

Well this secular country has a new way of looking at death, guess it saves the socialized medical budget a few pounds.

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2 years 6 weeks ago
 
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