Several events of a supernatural character are recorded as having taken place under the Chou dynasty. In B.C. 756, one of the feudal Dukes saw a vision of a yellow serpent which descended from heaven, and laid its head on the slope of a mountain. The Duke spoke of this to his astrologer, who said, "It is a manifestation of God; sacrifice to it." -from "The Ancient Faith" This concise 1906 work is the perfect introduction to the faiths of the Chinese civilization, from the earliest stories about the creation of the universe and the religious ventures of philosophers and emperors 5,000 years ago, to the "benevolent agnosticism" of Confucianism and the "doctrine of Inaction" of Taoism, to the sophisticated metaphysics of Buddhism. Unearthing surprising tidbits-human sacrifice, for instance, was not unknown in ancient China-this is a respectful, humanistic overview of the beliefs of a venerable peoples. British linguist and diplomat HERBERT ALLEN GILES (1845-1935) helped devise a new system to transliterate Mandarin into English. He served as an emissary to China from 1867 to 1892, and was later the second professor of Chinese at Cambridge. He also wrote The Civilization of China, Historic China and Other Sketches, and China and the Manchus.
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