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Word Count: 2,126
In the view of the Chinese common man life on earth is but a temporary stop on his journey to death and other reincarnations Since death is viewed as inexorable and inherent in the human condition the Chinese accepts it with composure It was a common custom in China especially in rural areas for people to have a coffin ready in their houses as a preparation for death that may come ten or twenty years in the future Well-to-do people used to build their own tombs long before they felt they were approaching death This composure should not be construed as absence of sadness and regret The Chinese believe that in spite of its seamy side life is still better than death which is shrouded in mystery Death for Chinese does not mean total disappearance Only the corporeal frame is disintegrated and the spirit survives and perpetuates itself in a series of reincarnations The belief of the survival of the soul forms the spiritual basis for ancestor worship while the feeling of gratitude ant affection for ones ancestors forms its moral foundation Among the Chinese the honest man is born amidst traditions and rites as an adolescent he seeks to improve himself through culture and in maturity he aims at wisdom through following the spiritual path This pattern is not an abstract ideal but a way of life which often leads to an attitude of tolerance and detachment The bulk of the Chinese people lived for centuries in this environment of ancestral beliefs and religious doctrines Confucianism is more of a religious and social philosophy than a religion in the accepted meaning of the word It has no church no clergy and no Bible It advocates a code of social behavior that man ought to observe so as to live in harmony with society and attain happiness in his individual life There is little concern about death the world beyond and spiritual feelings in this
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