THE FORBIDDEN CITY – BEIJING CHINA page 2

For page 1 go to: https://katzenmeier.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/the-forbidden-city-beijing-china/

The Temple of Heaven – Beijing see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven_worship

This temple complex was constructed from 1406 to 1420, by the same emperor who was also responsible for the construction of the Forbidden City in Beijing.

Heaven worship is an ancient Chinese religious belief that predates Taosim and Confusianism, and later incorporated into both.

The Ancient Chinese believed in a non-corporeal entity called an omnipotent, just and monotheistic supreme being.

Over time, this supreme being became synonymous with Heaven.

The worship of Heaven is highly ritualistic and requires that the emperor hold official sacrifices and worship at an altar of Heaven, the most famous is the Temple of Heaven.  Idols are not permitted in Heaven worship.

Heaven worship is closely linked with ancestor veneration.  Ancestors are believed to be mediators between Heaven and man.

The Emperor of China, also known as the Son of Heaven, Son of Heaven, gained his authority and legitimacy as ruler, from his  ability to communicate with Heaven on behalf of his nation.  This is known as the ‘Mandate of Heaven.’

Early missionaries saw similarities between Shangdi (Chinese God of Heaven) and the God of the Hebrew Bible, and translated God as “Shangdi” in Chinese. Some Chinese Christian scholars believe the Hebrew God and the Chinese Shangdi are the same  God.

The Chinese Mandate of Heaven vs. the European Divine Right of Kings

see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandate_of_Heaven

The Chinese Mandate of Heaven is similar to the European Divine Right of Kings.   Both notions legitimize ruler using divine approval. However, the Divine Right of Kings grants unconditional legitimacy, and the Mandate of Heaven is conditional on the just behavior of the ruler. Revolution is never legitimate under the European Divine Right of Kings philosphy, but the Chinese Mandate of Heaven approves the overthrow of unjust rulers.

The concept is important in understanding Chinese thought, because it only allows one legitimate ruler at any one time. Thus the Chinese always have one emperor, or one ruling party leader.

THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN COMPLEX

CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE.  THE ABOVE PANORAMIC  PHOTO IS FROM THE INTERNET.

BELOW IS MY PHOTO.

THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN ON A COLD SNOWY DAY

CUTAWAY MODEL OF THE TEMPLE - THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN IS CONSTRUCTED OF WOOD WITHOUT NAILS

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests has four inner, twelve middle and twelve outer pillars, representing the four seasons, twelve months and twelve traditional Chinese hours respectively. Combined together, the twelve middle and twelve outer pillars represent the traditional solar term.

All the buildings within the Temple have special dark blue roof tiles, representing the Heaven.

source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Heaven

The Temple of Heaven is built on three levels of marble stone base, where the Emperor prayed for good harvests. The building is completely wooden, with no nails.

RITE OF SACRIFICE TO HEAVEN

ARTWORK DEPICTING SACRIFICES

THE RITE OF WORSHIPPING HEAVEN BY ANIMAL SACRIFICE

BURNING A CALF FOR WORSHIPPING HEAVEN

POURING WATER ON THE SACRIFICES

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