Confucius (孔子/Kong Zi/K’ung Tzu): Forming a Chinese Social Identity
Throughout the world, perhaps no single Chinese historical personage is as recognized as Confucius is. Indeed, the writings of Kong Zi (the correct transliteration of his name) are comparable in their effect on the Chinese, and Asian, world view as are the Classical philosophies of Plato and Aristotle are in the West.
Since its first arrival in China in the Han, Buddhism has put down deep roots in Chinese society. Although Buddhism did not originate in China, to say that it is a ‘foreign’ religion is to disregard the majority of Chinese history, in which Buddhism played a major role. Moreover, the Buddhism that evolved in China is different from any other iteration of the religion, and must be considered in its cultural and societal context, according to its own characteristics. In general, Chinese Buddhism has emphasized meditation and monasticism above scripture and doctrine: the pursuit of enlightenment is achieved through casting aside the ‘illusions’ of text and even the physical sensations of the world.
Ever since the Chinese began writing with Ink and Brush, scholars and artists have ground their own Ink. Although many beginners may choose pre-prepared liquid Ink (link: online store prepared Ink) due to its consistency, ready availability and cheapness, experienced and novice calligraphers alike take pride in grinding their own Ink Sticks (link: online store Ink Sticks) (墨/ Mo). Not only is the grinding of Ink a great way to prepare the mind and wrist for the forthcoming writing, but it is also the best way to get a variety of Ink effects.