“For most Chinese the end of life lies not in life after death, for the idea that we live in order to die, as taught by Christianity, is incomprehensible, nor in Nirvana, for that is too metaphysical, not in the satisfaction of accomplishment, for that is too vainglorious, nor yet in progress for progress’ sake, for that is meaningless. The true end, the Chinese have decided in a singularly clear manner, lies in the enjoyment of a simple life, especially the family life, and in harmonious social relationships.
“The Chinese are a nation of individualists. They are family-minded, not social-minded… It is curious that the word ‘society’ does not exist as an idea in Chinese thought. In the Confucian social and political philosophy we see a direct transition from family, ‘chia’, to the state, ‘kuo’, as successive stages of human organization …
“The Chinese, therefore, make rather poor Christian converts, and if they are to be converted they should all become Quakers, for that is the only sort of Christianity that the Chinese can understand. Christianity as a way of life can impress the Chinese, but Christian creeds and dogmas will be crushed, not by a superior Confucian logic but by ordinary Confucian common sense. Buddhism itself, when absorbed by the educated Chinese, became nothing but a system of mental hygiene, which is the essence of Sung philosophy.” Source: My Country and My People, Lin Yutang. Halcyon House, New York. 1938. Pgs 94; 101; 103; 172, and 108)
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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.
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