Three laughs at Tiger Brook

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Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are one, a litang style painting portraying three men laughing by a river stream, 12th century, Song Dynasty. Huxisanxiaotu.jpg
Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are one, a litang style painting portraying three men laughing by a river stream, 12th century, Song Dynasty.

Three laughs at Tiger Brook (Chinese: 虎溪三笑; Pinyin: hǔ xī sān xiào; Gan: fû ki sam siēu) is a Chinese proverb which refers to the image that the three men, Huiyuan, Tao Yuanming and Lu Xiujing laugh together when arriving at Fuki (虎溪, Tiger Brook) of Mount Lu. This concept represents the ideal harmonious relations of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism in ancient China.

Chinese language family of languages

Chinese is a group of related, but in many cases not mutually intelligible, language varieties, forming the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Chinese is spoken by the Han majority and many minority ethnic groups in China. About 1.2 billion people speak some form of Chinese as their first language.

Hanyu Pinyin, often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.

Gan Chinese member of the Sinitic languages of the Sino-Tibetan language family spoken as the native language by the people in the Jiangxi province of China

Gan is a group of Chinese varieties spoken as the native language by many people in the Jiangxi province of China, as well as significant populations in surrounding regions such as Hunan, Hubei, Anhui, and Fujian. Gan is a member of the Sinitic languages of the Sino-Tibetan language family, and Hakka is the closest Chinese variety to Gan in terms of phonetics.



The proverb came from the story of the recluse monk Huiyuan (334–416), who never used to go farther than Fuki, even for a walk or a friend's visit. Moreover, the tiger hiding in the forest would roar to warn him once he crossed the brook. One day, on the visit of the poet Tao Yuanming (365–427) and Taoist Lu Xiujing (406–477), Huiyuan had a congenial talk with them. As a result, they only realized they had passed the brook when they heard the roar of the tiger. They laughed wisely together, which represents the desired relationship among the three main religions/philosophies of that time, namely the harmony among Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism.

Tao Yuanming Chinese poet

Tao Yuanming (365?–427), also known as Tao Qian or T'ao Ch'ien (Wade-Giles), was a Chinese poet who lived during the Eastern Jin (317-420) and Liu Song (420-479) dynasties. He is considered to be one of the greatest poets of the Six dynasties period. Tao Yuanming spent most of his life in reclusion, living in a small house in the countryside, reading, drinking wine, receiving the occasional guest, and writing poems in which he often reflected on the pleasures and difficulties of life in the countryside, as well as his decision to withdraw from civil service. His simple, direct, and unmannered style was at odds with the norms for literary writing in his time. Although he was relatively well-known as a recluse poet in the Tang dynasty (618-907), it was not until the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127), when influential literati figures such as Su Shi (1037-1101) declared him a paragon of authenticity and spontaneity in poetry, that Tao Yuanming would achieve lasting literary fame. He is also regarded as the foremost representative of what would latter be known as Fields and Gardens poetry, a style of landscape poetry that found inspiration in the beauty and serenity of the natural world close at hand.

Religion in China religious beliefs in China

The government of the People's Republic of China officially espouses state atheism, though Chinese civilization has historically long been a cradle and host to a variety of the most enduring religio-philosophical traditions of the world. Confucianism and Taoism, later joined by Buddhism, constitute the "three teachings" that have shaped Chinese culture. There are no clear boundaries between these intertwined religious systems, which do not claim to be exclusive, and elements of each enrich popular or folk religion. The emperors of China claimed the Mandate of Heaven and participated in Chinese religious practices. In the early 20th century, reform-minded officials and intellectuals attacked all religions as "superstitious", and since 1949, China has been governed by the Communist Party of China, an atheist institution that prohibits party members from practising religion while in office. In the culmination of a series of atheistic and antireligious campaigns already underway since the late 19th century, the Cultural Revolution against old habits, ideas, customs and culture, lasting from 1966 to 1967, destroyed or forced them underground. Under following leaders, religious organisations were given more autonomy. The government formally recognises five religions: Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, Protestantism and Islam. In the early twenty-first century there has been increasing official recognition of Confucianism and Chinese folk religion as part of China's cultural inheritance.

Confucianism Chinese ethical and philosophical system

Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is described as tradition, a philosophy, a religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, a way of governing, or simply a way of life. Confucianism developed from what was later called the Hundred Schools of Thought from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius, who considered himself a recodifier and retransmitter of the theology and values inherited from the Shang and Zhou dynasties. In the Han dynasty, Confucian approaches edged out the "proto-Taoist" Huang–Lao as the official ideology, while the emperors mixed both with the realist techniques of Legalism.

This story began as early as the Tang dynasty and became popular during the Song dynasty. It's proved to be impracticable as Lu Xiujing had a visible age difference from the other two.

Tang dynasty ruling dynasty in China

The Tang dynasty or the Tang Empire was an imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. Historians generally regard the Tang as a high point in Chinese civilization, and 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.

Song dynasty Chinese historical period

The Song dynasty was an era of Chinese history that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song following his usurpation of the throne of the Later Zhou, ending the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. The Song often came into conflict with the contemporary Liao and Western Xia dynasties in the north. It was eventually conquered by the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Song government was the first in world history to issue banknotes or true paper money nationally and the first Chinese government to establish a permanent standing navy. This dynasty also saw the first known use of gunpowder, as well as the first discernment of true north using a compass.

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Chinese philosophy philosophy in the Chinese cultural sphere

Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period and Warring States period, during a period known as the "Hundred Schools of Thought", which was characterized by significant intellectual and cultural developments. Although much of Chinese philosophy begins in the Warring States period, elements of Chinese philosophy have existed for several thousand years; some can be found in the Yi Jing, an ancient compendium of divination, which dates back to at least 672 BCE. It was during the Warring States era that what Sima Tan termed the major philosophical schools of China: Confucianism, Legalism, and Taoism, arose, along with philosophies that later fell into obscurity, like Agriculturalism, Mohism, Chinese Naturalism, and the Logicians.

Taoism Religious or philosophical tradition of Chinese origin

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; in Taoism, however, it denotes the principle that is the source, pattern and substance of everything that exists. 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, spontaneity, and the Three Treasures: 慈 "compassion", 儉 "frugality", and 不敢為天下先 "humility".

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Neo-Confucianism Chinese philosophy

Neo-Confucianism is a moral, ethical, and metaphysical Chinese philosophy influenced by Confucianism, and originated with Han Yu and Li Ao (772–841) in the Tang Dynasty, and became prominent during the Song and Ming dynasties.

Three teachings term referring to Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism collectively, considered as a harmonious aggregate

In Chinese philosophy, the phrase three teachings refers to Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism when considered as a harmonious aggregate. Some of the earliest literary references to the "three teachings" idea dates back to the 6th century by prominent Chinese scholars of the time. The term may also refer to a non-religious philosophy built on that aggregation.

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<i>Yituanheqi</i> gongbi picture by Chenghua Emperor.

Yituanheqi(simplified Chinese: 一团和气; traditional Chinese: 一團和氣; pinyin: Yītuán Héqì) is a gongbi picture by Chenghua Emperor. The painting depicts Tao Yuanming, Lu Xiujing, and Zen Master Hui Yuan embracing each other, with the three, together, looking like Maitreya. This painting reflects the traditional Chinese syncretic concept of the amalgamation of the three teachings. In concept, it was similar to the anecdotal tale of Three laughs at Tiger Brook.

Taoist philosophy

Taoist philosophy also known as Taology refers to the various philosophical currents of Taoism, a tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao. The Tao is a mysterious and deep principle that is the source, pattern and substance of the entire universe.