Masks of ancient china

Most cultures have their roots in mythology. The Western culture explains the creation of humans with the story of Adam and Eve. The Indian culture believes that creation is part of a cycle with no beginning and no end. As opposed to the Western culture beliefs that “man had been made not to be god but to know, honor and serve him,” the Chinese believe on an individual’s quest for immortality (Campbell 7). One Chinese religion that is based in myth is Taoism, a unique and indigenous religion of the country. Tao, or the way, is the ultimate principle of the universe. For the Taoist, life is cyclical, a procession of birth, life, death, the four seasons, the five elements and the Yin and the Yang. To strive for Tao is to strive for harmony, which will result in longevity and immortality. Taoist deities were called Immortals, beings that had found eternal life and whose job was to instruct and help others. The great culture of China is reflected in its mythology such as the P”an Ku and the creation myth, the gods of China, and the Eight Immortals. .

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In almost every ancient society, the creation myth is used to describe how the earth and man were created. Creation myths not only contain an explanation for our existence but will also demonstrate something distinctive about the culture from which they originated in a way unique to that culture. In most myths of other cultures and religions, a god has created the universe. However, in Chinese mythology, popular tales have humans helping to build up and to repair the world during a time of chaos. These humans are by no means godlike but are rather a part of the world they helped to fix. Chinese Creation myths contain the idea of chaos and the cosmic egg, and help to define the roles of the family in the Chinese culture.

P”an Ku, the most universal of the Chinese myths, discusses the combination of the yin and yang. Chinese believe that in the beginning, the entire universe was compacted inside an egg, consisting of chaos and P”an Ku.

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