Chinese culture, unlike the Egyptian and Greco-Roman culture was not intent on worshipping many gods but on following the ways Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism.

Taoism intuition saw an elusive and underlying reality in nature which they called the Tao (Way). At the beginning of the Tao Te Ching we read,

The Way that can be known is not the eternal way.
The name that can be name is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.

But the Tao was too mystical and elusive a reality for the common people to live by or for the government to act by so Confucius set out to teach them the practical Way to live. A few examples from the Analects will suffice to grasp his spirit.

"The Master said...Let there be no evil in your thoughts." (Bk II ,2)

"The Master said...Filial sons nowadays are people who see to it that their parents get enough to eat. But even dogs and horses are cared for to that extent. If there is no feeling of respect, wherein lies the difference." (Bk II, 3)

"The Master said...Govern them by moral force, keep order among them by ritual and they will keep their self respect and come to you in their good accord." (Bk 3, 7)

"The Mater said, Set your heart upon the Way, support yourself by its power, lean upon goodness, seek distraction in the arts." (Bk 7, 6)

The third component of Chinese culture was Buddhism. Buddhism taught that moral suffering was universal and that the way out of suffering was to follow the Eightfold Path, e.g. Right thought, Right desire, Right Action, etc. The ultimate objective of Buddhism is to become free from the cycle of rebirth which was due to accumulated wrongdoing in life and attain eternal bliss. This was to be achieved by self-effort but ( Mahayana Buddhism) at the time of the Tan Dynasty encouraged divine help by prayer to Bodhisattvas or beings who had attained release from rebirth.

Christ proclaims Himself as the ultimate Way fulfilling the grouping of Taoism, the desire for peace and harmony in the Kingdom of China and the freedom from suffering proclaimed by the Buddhists. He is the Way to the Eternal Kingdom of the Father where peace and harmony resides in the love of God and the vision of His glory.


An Ancient Path by Ms. We Jiawei

We know that a Nestorian Monk named Olopen arrived in Chang-an (Xian), than the capital of the Tang Dynasty, in 635 A.D. For three years he translated the Christian Scriptures into Chinese at the Emperor's personal library. In 638 A.D. When the Emperor heard the Christian teaching he realized that they spoke the truth so he issued a decree which reads,

"The Way does not have a common name and the sacred does not have a common form. Proclaim the teachings everywhere for the salvation of the people. Aluoben, the man of great virtue from the Da Qin Empire, came from a far land and arrived at the capital to present the teaching and images of his religion. His message is mysterious and wonderful beyond our understanding. ... The message is lucid and clear; the teachings will benefit all; and they should be practiced throughout the land." (Stone Sutra, Part 3, v. 8-13))

The Tao of Heaven and Christianity