Taoism, or Daoism, is a religious or philosophical tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao. The Tao is a fundamental idea in most Chinese philosophical schools. Taoism differs from Confucianism by not emphasizing rigid rituals and social order, but is similar in the sense that it is a teaching about the various disciplines for achieving "perfection" by becoming one with the unplanned rhythms of the universe called "the way" or "dao". Taoist ethics vary depending on the particular school, but in general tend to emphasize wu wei, "naturalness", simplicity and the Three Treasures: 慈 "compassion", 儉 "frugality", 不敢為天下先 "humility"; the roots of Taoism go back at least to the 4th century BCE. Early Taoism drew its cosmological notions from the School of Yinyang, was influenced by one of the oldest texts of Chinese culture, the I Ching, which expounds a philosophical system about how to keep human behavior in accordance with the alternating cycles of nature; the "Legalist" Shen Buhai may have been a major influence, expounding a realpolitik of wu wei.
The Tao Te Ching, a compact book containing teachings attributed to Laozi, is considered the keystone work of the Taoist tradition, together with the writings of Zhuangzi. By the Han dynasty, the various sources of Taoism had coalesced into a coherent tradition of religious organizations and orders of ritualists in the state of Shu. In earlier ancient China, Taoists were thought of as hermits or recluses who did not participate in political life. Zhuangzi was the best known of these, it is significant that he lived in the south, where he was part of local Chinese shamanic traditions. Female shamans played an important role in this tradition, strong in the southern state of Chu. Early Taoist movements developed their own institution in contrast to shamanism, but absorbed basic shamanic elements. Shamans revealed basic texts of Taoism from early times down to at least the 20th century. Institutional orders of Taoism evolved in various strains that in more recent times are conventionally grouped into two main branches: Quanzhen Taoism and Zhengyi Taoism.
After Laozi and Zhuangzi, the literature of Taoism grew and was compiled in form of a canon—the Daozang—which was published at the behest of the emperor. Throughout Chinese history, Taoism was nominated several times as a state religion. After the 17th century, however, it fell from favor. Taoism has had a profound influence on Chinese culture in the course of the centuries, Taoists, a title traditionally attributed only to the clergy and not to their lay followers take care to note distinction between their ritual tradition and the practices of Chinese folk religion and non-Taoist vernacular ritual orders, which are mistakenly identified as pertaining to Taoism. Chinese alchemy, Chinese astrology, Chan Buddhism, several martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine, feng shui, many styles of qigong have been intertwined with Taoism throughout history. Beyond China, Taoism had influence on surrounding societies in Asia. Today, the Taoist tradition is one of the five religious doctrines recognized in the People's Republic of China as well as the Republic of China, although it does not travel from its East Asian roots, it claims adherents in a number of societies, in particular in Hong Kong, in Southeast Asia.
Since the introduction of the Pinyin system for romanizing Mandarin Chinese, there have been those who have felt that "Taoism" would be more appropriately spelled as "Daoism". The Mandarin Chinese pronunciation for the word 道 is spelled as tao4 in the older Wade–Giles romanization system while it is spelled as dào in the newer Pinyin romanization system. Both the Wade–Giles tao4 and the Pinyin dào are intended to be pronounced identically in Mandarin Chinese, but despite this fact, "Taoism" and "Daoism" can be pronounced differently in English vernacular; the word "Taoism" is used to translate different Chinese terms which refer to different aspects of the same tradition and semantic field: "Taoist religion", or the "liturgical" aspect – A family of organized religious movements sharing concepts or terminology from "Taoist philosophy". "Taoist philosophy" or "Taology", or the "mystical" aspect – The philosophical doctrines based on the texts of the I Ching, the Tao Te Ching and the Zhuangzi.
These texts were linked together as "Taoist philosophy" during the early Han Dynasty, but notably not before. It is unlikely that Zhuangzi was familiar with the text of the Daodejing, Zhuangzi would not have identified himself as a Taoist as this classification did not arise until well after his death. However, the discussed distinction is rejected by the majority of Japanese scholars, it is contested by hermeneutic difficulties in the categorization of the different Taoist schools and movements. Taoism does not f
The Tang dynasty or the Tang Empire was an imperial dynasty of China spanning the 7th to 10th centuries. It was followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. Historians regard the Tang as a high point in Chinese civilization, a golden age of cosmopolitan culture. Tang territory, acquired through the military campaigns of its early rulers, rivaled that of the Han dynasty; the Tang capital at Chang'an was the most populous city in the world in its day. The Lǐ family founded the dynasty, seizing power during the collapse of the Sui Empire; the dynasty was interrupted when Empress Wu Zetian seized the throne, proclaiming the Second Zhou dynasty and becoming the only Chinese empress regnant. In two censuses of the 7th and 8th centuries, the Tang records estimated the population by number of registered households at about 50 million people, yet when the central government was breaking down and unable to compile an accurate census of the population in the 9th century, it is estimated that the population had grown by to about 80 million people.
With its large population base, the dynasty was able to raise professional and conscripted armies of hundreds of thousands of troops to contend with nomadic powers in dominating Inner Asia and the lucrative trade-routes along the Silk Road. Various kingdoms and states paid tribute to the Tang court, while the Tang conquered or subdued several regions which it indirectly controlled through a protectorate system. Besides political hegemony, the Tang exerted a powerful cultural influence over neighboring East Asian states such as those in Japan and Korea; the Tang dynasty was a period of progress and stability in the first half of the dynasty's rule, until the An Lushan Rebellion and the decline of central authority in the half of the dynasty. Like the previous Sui dynasty, the Tang dynasty maintained a civil-service system by recruiting scholar-officials through standardized examinations and recommendations to office; the rise of regional military governors known as jiedushi during the 9th century undermined this civil order.
Chinese culture further matured during the Tang era. Two of China's most famous poets, Li Bai and Du Fu, belonged to this age, as did many famous painters such as Han Gan, Zhang Xuan, Zhou Fang. Scholars of this period compiled a rich variety of historical literature, as well as encyclopedias and geographical works; the adoption of the title Tängri Qaghan by the Tang Emperor Taizong in addition to his title as emperor was eastern Asia's first "simultaneous kingship". Many notable innovations occurred including the development of woodblock printing. Buddhism became a major influence with native Chinese sects gaining prominence. However, in the 840s the Emperor Wuzong of Tang enacted policies to persecute Buddhism, which subsequently declined in influence. Although the dynasty and central government had gone into decline by the 9th century and culture continued to flourish; the weakened central government withdrew from managing the economy, but the country's mercantile affairs stayed intact and commercial trade continued to thrive regardless.
However, agrarian rebellions in the latter half of the 9th century resulted in damaging atrocities such as the Guangzhou massacre of 878–879. The Li family belonged to the northwest military aristocracy prevalent during the Sui dynasty and claimed to be paternally descended from the Daoist founder, Laozi the Han dynasty General Li Guang and Western Liang ruler Li Gao; this family was known as the Longxi Li lineage. The Tang Emperors had Xianbei maternal ancestry, from Emperor Gaozu of Tang's Xianbei mother, Duchess Dugu. Li Yuan was Duke of Tang and governor of Taiyuan, modern Shanxi, during the Sui dynasty's collapse, caused in part by the Sui failure to conquer the northern part of the Korean peninsula during the Goguryeo–Sui War, he had prestige and military experience, was a first cousin of Emperor Yang of Sui. Li Yuan rose in rebellion in 617, along with his son and his militant daughter Princess Pingyang, who raised and commanded her own troops. In winter 617, Li Yuan occupied Chang'an, relegated Emperor Yang to the position of Taishang Huang or retired emperor, acted as regent to the puppet child-emperor, Yang You.
On the news of Emperor Yang's murder by General Yuwen Huaji on June 18, 618, Li Yuan declared himself the emperor of a new dynasty, the Tang. Li Yuan, known as Emperor Gaozu of Tang, ruled until 626, when he was forcefully deposed by his son Li Shimin, the Prince of Qin. Li Shimin had commanded troops since the age of 18, had prowess with bow and arrow and lance and was known for his effective cavalry charges. Fighting a numerically superior army, he defeated Dou Jiande at Luoyang in the Battle of Hulao on May 28, 621. In a violent elimination of royal family due to fear of assassination, Li Shimin ambushed and killed two of his brothers, Li Yuanji and Crown prince Li Jiancheng, in the Xuanwu Gate Incident on July 2, 626. Shortly thereafter, his father abdicated in his favor and Li Shimin ascended the throne, he is conventionally known by his temple name Taizong. Although killing two brothers and deposing his father contradicted the Confucian value of filial piety, Taizong showed himself to be a capable leader who listened to the advice of the wisest members of his council.
In 628, Emperor Taizong held a Buddhist memorial service for the casualties of war, in 629 he ha
Prajñāpāramitā means "the Perfection of Wisdom" in Mahāyāna Buddhism. Prajñāpāramitā refers to this perfected way of seeing the nature of reality, as well as to a particular body of sutras and to the personification of the concept in the Bodhisattva known as the "Great Mother"; the word Prajñāpāramitā combines the Sanskrit words prajñā "wisdom" with pāramitā "perfection". Prajñāpāramitā is a central concept in Mahāyāna Buddhism and is associated with the doctrine of emptiness or'lack of Svabhava' and the works of Nagarjuna, its practice and understanding are taken to be indispensable elements of the Bodhisattva path. According to Edward Conze, the Prajñāpāramitā Sutras are "a collection of about forty texts... composed somewhere around Indian subcontinent between 100 BC and AD 600." Some Prajnāpāramitā sūtras are thought to be among the earliest Mahāyāna sūtras. One of the important features of the Prajñāpāramitā Sutras is anutpada. Western scholars have traditionally considered the earliest sūtra in the Prajñāpāramitā class to be the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra or "Perfection of Wisdom in 8,000 Lines", put in writing in the 1st century BCE.
This chronology is based on the views of Edward Conze, who considered dates of translation into other languages. This text has a corresponding version in verse format, called the Ratnaguṇasaṃcaya Gāthā, which some believe to be older because it is not written in standard literary Sanskrit. However, these findings rely on late-dating Indian texts, in which verses and mantras are kept in more archaic forms. Additionally, a number of scholars have proposed that the Mahāyāna Prajñāpāramitā teachings were first developed by the Caitika subsect of the Mahāsāṃghikas, they believe that the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra originated amongst the southern Mahāsāṃghika schools of the Āndhra region, along the Kṛṣṇa River. These Mahāsāṃghikas had two famous monasteries near Amarāvati and the Dhānyakataka, which gave their names to the Pūrvaśaila and Aparaśaila schools; each of these schools had a copy of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra in Prakrit. Guang Xing assesses the view of the Buddha given in the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra as being that of the Mahāsāṃghikas.
Edward Conze estimates that this sūtra originated around 100 BCE. In 2012, Harry Falk and Seishi Karashima published a damaged and partial Kharoṣṭhī manuscript of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā, it is radiocarbon dated making it one of the oldest Buddhist texts in existence. It is similar to the first Chinese translation of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā by Lokakṣema whose source text is assumed to be in the Gāndhārī language. Comparison with the standard Sanskrit text shows that it is likely to be a translation from Gāndhāri as it expands on many phrases and provides glosses for words that are not present in the Gāndhārī; this points to the text being composed in the language of Gandhara. The "Split" manuscript is evidently a copy of an earlier text, confirming that the text may date before the 1st century CE. In contrast to western scholarship, Japanese scholars have traditionally considered the Diamond Sūtra to be from a early date in the development of Prajñāpāramitā literature; the usual reason for this relative chronology which places the Vajracchedikā earlier is not its date of translation, but rather a comparison of the contents and themes.
Some western scholars believe that the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra was adapted from the earlier Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra. Examining the language and phrases used in both the Aṣṭasāhasrikā and the Vajracchedikā, Gregory Schopen sees the Vajracchedikā as being earlier than the Aṣṭasāhasrikā; this view is taken in part by examining parallels between the two works, in which the Aṣṭasāhasrikā seems to represent the or more developed position. According to Schopen, these works show a shift in emphasis from an oral tradition to a written tradition. An Indian commentary on the Mahāyānasaṃgraha, entitled Vivṛtaguhyārthapiṇḍavyākhyā, gives a classification of teachings according to the capabilities of the audience: ccording to disciples' grades, the Dharma is inferior and superior. For example, the inferior was taught to the merchants Trapuṣa and Ballika because they were ordinary men; the eightfold are the teachings of the Prajñāpāramitā as follows: the Triśatikā, Pañcaśatikā, Saptaśatikā, Sārdhadvisāhasrikā, Aṣṭasāhasrikā, Aṣṭadaśasāhasrikā, Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā, Śatasāhasrikā.
The titles of these eight Prajñāpāramitā texts are given according to their length. The texts may have other Sanskrit titles as well, or different variations which may be more descriptive; the lengths specified by the titles are given below. Triśatikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra: 300 lines, alternatively known as the Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra Pañcaśatikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra: 500 lines Saptaśatikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra: 700 lines, the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī's exposition of Prajñāpāramitā Sārdhadvisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra: 2500 lines, from the questions of Suvikrāntavikrāmin Bodhisattva Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra: 8000 lines Aṣṭadaśasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra: 18,00
Nichiren was a Japanese Buddhist priest who lived during the Kamakura period and developed the teachings that are now considered Nichiren Buddhism, a branch school of Mahayana Buddhism. Nichiren was controversial in his day and was known for preaching that the Lotus Sutra alone contains the highest truth of Buddhist teachings and represents the effective teaching for the Third Age of Buddhism, he declared that social and political peace are dependent on the quality of the belief system, upheld in a nation. He advocated the repeated recitation of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. In addition, he held that the historical Shakyamuni Buddha was the manifestation of a Buddha-nature, accessible to all, he insisted that those who claim to be believers of the Sutra must propagate it in the face of persecution. Nichiren was a prolific writer and his biography and the evolution of his thinking has been gleaned from his own writings, he launched his teachings in 1253, advocating an exclusive return to the Lotus Sutra as based on its original Tendai interpretations.
His 1260 treatise Risshō Ankoku Ron argued that a nation that embraces the Lotus Sutra will experience peace and prosperity whereas rulers who support inferior religious teachings invite disorder and disaster into their realms. In a 1264 essay, he stated that the title of the Lotus Sutra, "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo," encompasses all Buddhist teachings and its recitation leads to enlightenment; as a result of his adamant stance, he experienced severe persecution imposed by the Kamakura Shogunate and began to see himself as "bodily reading the Lotus Sutra." In some of his writings during a second exile he began to identify himself with the key Lotus Sutra characters Sadāparibhūta and Visistacaritra and saw himself in the role of leading a vast outpouring of Bodhisattvas of the Earth. In 1274, after his two predictions of foreign invasion and political strife were actualized by the first attempted Mongol invasion of Japan along with an unsuccessful coup within the Hōjō clan, Nichiren was pardoned by the Shogunate authorities and his advice was sought but not heeded.
The Risshō Ankoku Ron in which he first predicted foreign invasion and civil disorder is now considered by Japanese historians to be a literary classic illustrating the apprehensions of that period. After his death, in 1358 he was bestowed the title Nichiren Dai-Bosatsu by Emperor Go-Kōgon and in 1922 the title Risshō Daishi was conferred posthumously by imperial edict. Nichiren remains a controversial figure among scholars who cast him as either a fervent nationalist or a social reformer with a transnational religious vision. Critical scholars have used words such as intolerant, nationalistic and self-righteous to portray him. On the other hand, Nichiren has been presented as a revolutionary, a classic reformer, as a prophet. Nichiren is compared to other religious figures who shared similar rebellious and revolutionary drives to reform degeneration in their respective societies or schools. Today, Nichiren Buddhism includes traditional temple schools such as the confederation of Nichiren-shū and Nichiren Shōshū temples, as well as modern lay movements such as Soka Gakkai, Risshō Kōsei Kai, Reiyūkai, Kenshōkai, Honmon Butsuryū-shū, Kempon Hokke, Shōshinkai.
Each group has varying views of Nichiren's teachings with interpretations of Nichiren's identity ranging from the reincarnation of bodhisattva Visistacaritra to the primordial or "true" Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law. Since there is no historical record of Nichiren, the story of his life has been constructed from the quite substantial number of extant letters and treatises he wrote, counted in one collection as 523 complete writings and 248 fragments; the first extensive biography of Nichiren did not appear until more than 200 years after his death. Several unsubstantiated stories found their way into hagiographies about Nichiren and are reflected in various pieces of artwork about incidents in his life. There is a current effort among scholars to create new biographies about Nichiren through cross-historical and literary analyses. According to the lunar Chinese calendar, Nichiren was born on 27th of the first month in 1222, 16 February in the Gregorian calendar. Nichiren was born in the village of Nagase District, Awa Province.
Accounts of his lineage vary. Nichiren described himself as "the son of a Sendara, "a son born of the lowly people living on a rocky strand of the out-of-the-way sea," and "the son of a sea-diver." In contrast, Hōnen, Shinran, Dōgen, Eisai, the other founders of religious schools who predated Nichiren, were all born in the Kyoto region and came from noble or samurai backgrounds. Although his writings reflect a fierce pride of his lowly birth, followers after his death began to ascribe to him a more noble lineage to attract more adherents; some have claimed his father was a manorial functionary, or a political refugee. Nichiren's father was Mikuni-no-Tayu Shigetada known as Nukina Shigetada Jiro and his mother was Umegiku-nyo. On his birth, his parents named him Zennichimaro which has variously been translated into English as "Splendid Sun" and "Virtuous Sun Boy" among others; the exact site of Nichiren's birth is believed to be submerged off the shore from present-day Kominato-zan
The Heart Sūtra is a popular sutra in Mahāyāna Buddhism. Its Sanskrit title, Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya, can be translated as "The Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom"; the sutra famously states, "Form is empty". It is a condensed exposé on the Buddhist Mahayana teaching of the Two Truths doctrine, which says that all phenomena are sunyata, empty of an unchanging essence; this emptiness is a'characteristic' of all phenomena, not a transcendent reality, but "empty" of an essence of its own. It is a response to Sarvastivada teachings that "phenomena" or its constituents are real; the text has been translated into English dozens of times from Chinese and Tibetan as well as other source languages. In the sutra, Avalokiteśvara addresses Śariputra, explaining the fundamental emptiness of all phenomena, known through and as the five aggregates of human existence: form, volitions and consciousness. Avalokiteśvara famously states, "Form is empty. Emptiness is form", declares the other skandhas to be empty—that is, dependently originated.
Avalokiteśvara goes through some of the most fundamental Buddhist teachings such as the Four Noble Truths, explains that in emptiness none of these notions apply. This is interpreted according to the two truths doctrine as saying that teachings, while accurate descriptions of conventional truth, are mere statements about reality—they are not reality itself—and that they are therefore not applicable to the ultimate truth, by definition beyond mental understanding, thus the bodhisattva, as the archetypal Mahayana Buddhist, relies on the perfection of wisdom, defined in the Mahāprajñāpāramitā Sūtra to be the wisdom that perceives reality directly without conceptual attachment thereby achieving nirvana. The sutra concludes with the mantra gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā, meaning "gone, everyone gone to the other shore, svaha." The Heart Sutra is "the single most recited and studied scripture in East Asian Buddhism." It is recited by adherents of Mahayana schools of Buddhism regardless of sectarian affiliation.
While the origin of the sutra is disputed by some modern scholars, it was known in Bengal and Bihar during the Pala Empire period in India, where it played a role in Vajrayana Buddhism. The stature of the Heart Sutra throughout early medieval India can be seen from its title ‘Holy Mother of all Buddhas Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom’ dating from at least the 8th century CE; the long version of the Heart Sutra is extensively studied by the various Tibetan Buddhist schools, where the Heart Sutra is chanted, but treated as a tantric text, with a tantric ceremony associated with it. It is viewed as one of the daughter sutras of the Prajnaparamita genre in the Vajrayana tradition as passed down from Tibet; the text has been translated into many languages, dozens of English translations and commentaries have been published, along with an unknown number of informal versions on the internet. There are two main versions of the Heart Sutra: a long version; the short version as translated by Xuanzang is the most popular version of adherents practicing East Asian schools of Buddhism.
Xuanzang's canonical text has a total of 260 Chinese characters. Some Japanese versions have an additional 2 characters; the short version has been translated into Tibetan but it is not part of the current Tibetan Buddhist Canon. The long version differs from the short version by including both an introductory and concluding section; the introduction introduces the sutra to the listener with the traditional Buddhist opening phrase "Thus have I heard". It describes the venue in which the Buddha promulgate the teaching and the audience to whom the teaching is given; the concluding section praises to the Buddha. Both versions are chanted on a daily basis by adherents of all schools of East Asian Buddhism and by some adherents of Tibetan and Newar Buddhism; the earliest extant dated text of the Heart Sutra is a stone stele dated to 661 CE located at Yunju Temple and is part of the Fangshan Stone Sutra. It is the earliest copy of Xuanzang's 649 CE translation of the Heart Sutra. A palm-leaf manuscript found at the Hōryū-ji Temple is the earliest undated extant Sanskrit manuscript of the Heart Sutra.
It is dated to c. 7th–8th century CE by the Tokyo National Museum where it is kept. Nattier theorizes based on her cross-philological study of Chinese and Sanskrit texts of the Heart Sutra that the Heart Sutra may have been composed in China. Fukui, Harada and Siu based on their cross-philological study of Chinese and Sanskrit texts of the Heart Sutra and other medieval period Sanskrit Mahayana sutras theorizes that the Heart Sutra could not have been composed in China but was composed in India. Kuiji and Woncheuk were the two main disciples of Xuanzang, their 7th century commentaries are the earliest extant commentaries on the Heart Sutra. The titles of the earliest extant manuscripts of the Heart Sutra all includes the words “hṛdaya” or “heart” and “prajñāpāramitā” or "perfection of wisdom". Beginning from the 8th century and continuing at least until the 13th century, the titles of the Indic manuscripts of the Heart Sutra contained the words “bhagavatī” or "mother of all buddhas" and “prajñāpāramitā”.
China the People's Republic of China, is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering 9,600,000 square kilometers, it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. China emerged as one of the world's earliest civilizations, in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, or dynasties, beginning with the semi-legendary Xia dynasty in 21st century BCE. Since China has expanded, re-unified numerous times. In the 3rd century BCE, the Qin established the first Chinese empire; the succeeding Han dynasty, which ruled from 206 BC until 220 AD, saw some of the most advanced technology at that time, including papermaking and the compass, along with agricultural and medical improvements.
The invention of gunpowder and movable type in the Tang dynasty and Northern Song completed the Four Great Inventions. Tang culture spread in Asia, as the new Silk Route brought traders to as far as Mesopotamia and Horn of Africa. Dynastic rule ended in 1912 with the Xinhai Revolution; the Chinese Civil War resulted in a division of territory in 1949, when the Communist Party of China established the People's Republic of China, a unitary one-party sovereign state on Mainland China, while the Kuomintang-led government retreated to the island of Taiwan. The political status of Taiwan remains disputed. Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China's economy has been one of the world's fastest-growing with annual growth rates above 6 percent. According to the World Bank, China's GDP grew from $150 billion in 1978 to $12.24 trillion by 2017. Since 2010, China has been the world's second-largest economy by nominal GDP and since 2014, the largest economy in the world by purchasing power parity.
China is the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army and second-largest defense budget; the PRC is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as it replaced the ROC in 1971, as well as an active global partner of ASEAN Plus mechanism. China is a leading member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, WTO, APEC, BRICS, the BCIM, the G20. In recent times, scholars have argued that it will soon be a world superpower, rivaling the United States; the word "China" has been used in English since the 16th century. It is not a word used by the Chinese themselves, it has been traced through Portuguese and Persian back to the Sanskrit word Cīna, used in ancient India."China" appears in Richard Eden's 1555 translation of the 1516 journal of the Portuguese explorer Duarte Barbosa. Barbosa's usage was derived from Persian Chīn, in turn derived from Sanskrit Cīna.
Cīna was first used including the Mahābhārata and the Laws of Manu. In 1655, Martino Martini suggested that the word China is derived from the name of the Qin dynasty. Although this derivation is still given in various sources, it is complicated by the fact that the Sanskrit word appears in pre-Qin literature; the word may have referred to a state such as Yelang. The meaning transferred to China as a whole; the origin of the Sanskrit word is still a matter of debate, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The official name of the modern state is the "People's Republic of China"; the shorter form is "China" Zhōngguó, from zhōng and guó, a term which developed under the Western Zhou dynasty in reference to its royal demesne. It was applied to the area around Luoyi during the Eastern Zhou and to China's Central Plain before being used as an occasional synonym for the state under the Qing, it was used as a cultural concept to distinguish the Huaxia people from perceived "barbarians". The name Zhongguo is translated as "Middle Kingdom" in English.
Archaeological evidence suggests that early hominids inhabited China between 2.24 million and 250,000 years ago. The hominid fossils of Peking Man, a Homo erectus who used fire, were discovered in a cave at Zhoukoudian near Beijing; the fossilized teeth of Homo sapiens have been discovered in Fuyan Cave in Hunan. Chinese proto-writing existed in Jiahu around 7000 BCE, Damaidi around 6000 BCE, Dadiwan from 5800–5400 BCE, Banpo dating from the 5th millennium BCE; some scholars have suggested. According to Chinese tradition, the first dynasty was the Xia, which emerged around 2100 BCE; the dynasty was considered mythical by historians until scientific excavations found early Bronze Age sites at Erlitou, Henan in 1959. It remains unclear whether these sites are the remains of the Xia dynasty or of another culture from the same period; the succeeding Shang dynasty is the earliest to be confirmed by contemporary records. The Shang ruled the plain of the Yellow River in eastern China from the 17th to the 11th century BCE.
Their oracle bone script
India known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia; the Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Gupta empires. In the medieval era, Zoroastrianism and Islam arrived, Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture.
Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, in the mid-19th under British Crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947. In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories.
A pluralistic and multi-ethnic society, it is home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindush, equivalent to the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historical local appellation for the Indus River; the ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi, which translates as "The people of the Indus". The geographical term Bharat, recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations, it is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India. Hindustan is a Middle Persian name for India, it was introduced into India by the Mughals and used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety; the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.
The earliest known human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago. Nearly contemporaneous human rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, storage of agricultural surplus, appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan; these developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Kalibangan, relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilization engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade. During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones; the Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed during this period, historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.
Most historians consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period. On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation. In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period, as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, craft traditions. In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas; the emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of Mahavira.
Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle