Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Matteo Ricci 

Dwight sent me a notice about the display at the Capital Museum on Matteo Ricci. He sent it to me quite awhile ago, but I kept putting it off, because I was so busy with moving. Leave it to me to wait until the very last day.

It was really worth it. Interesting..this display was put together by Ricci's home town in Italy. It was very well done, and gives lots of insight into the man and the world he lived in, both before and after he came to China.

Ricci had considerable sympathy with Confucianism, although he felt that it did not go far enough (because Confucius did not address matters beyond the grave). But Ricci was quite vigorously opposed to Buddhism, which he saw as not only antithetical to Christianity, but antithetical to China. UnChinese, in other words. It is a very intriguing perspective, because in today's China, Buddhism is often portrayed as a "Chinese" religion. History tells us otherwise.

Matteo Ricci also made an interesting observation of life on this earth. He said that we should not pay too much attention to the length of this life, because in comparison to eternity, the difference between a "long" life and a "short" life is pretty insignificant. But he hurried to point out that way we live this life is extremely important, because it has so much to do with what kind of life we will live after we pass from this world.

Ricci tended to view ancestor worship as a relatively benign expression of reverence for ones ancestors. I do not agree. It may appear that way on the surface, but I grew up in the countryside of Northern Japan, where ancestor worship is (or at least was) very prevalent. Ancestor worship is religion. And it is definitely not Christian.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?