Chinese First Emperor as With the Egyptian Essay

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Chinese First Emperor as with the Egyptian pharaohs, the tomb was a microcosm of the world that they knew in life, and filled with the objects that they would use in the afterlife. In early times, servants, soldiers, concubines and entertainers were even put to death so they could serve the monarch in the next world, although later these were mostly represented by statues and replicas. For the First Emperor of China, the tom was an elaborate "analogue of life," reportedly constructed by 700,000 men over many years -- far more than the number of workers used by the Egyptian pharaohs to build their tombs and pyramids (Rawson, 2007, p. 123). He even had a terracotta army with cavalry, archers, chariots and thousands of troops buried in pits to defend him from his enemies in the next world, along with stone armor to protect against evil spirits. Pit 1 had a terracotta army of 6,000 men and 160 chariots, all standing at attention. Although their individual features were unique and likely modeled from live soldiers, they had clearly been assigned eternal guard duty and were "forbidden to move unless directed to do so by superiors" (Rawson, p. 143). This was a far larger number of statues than was ever buried in any of the tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs, and indicates that the First Emperor of China fully planned to continue his military duties after death -- and so would his troops. Of course, the pyramids were also guarded against evil spirits, most spectacularly with the form of the sphinx, with the body of a mighty lion and the head of a king. Like the Egyptian pharaohs, the First Emperor also intended to enjoy the various pleasures of life, which is why gardens were constructed for his diversion and amusement, along with statues of concubines, entertainers and acrobats, as well as the bodies of birds, horses and wild animals. Obviously, he did not plan to be engaged in purely military operations all the time in the afterlife, since the tomb was "his palace, his whole court, his army and an entire universe centered on himself" (Rawson, p. 128). Although this image of an immortal, god-like ruler dwelling on a mountaintop was not exactly similar to the conception of the Egyptian afterlife, the First Emperor intended to continue in a role very similar to that he had played in the physical world.

4 and 5) In Chapter 10 of the Bhagavad Gita, the most important teaching of all concerns the nature of God, through which everything in the universe is manifested. God is the "source from which gods and sages emerge" and "whoever knows me as the Unborn, the Beginningless, the great Lord of all worlds -- he alone sees truly and is freed from all harm" (Mitchell 2000). Everything that exists, whether animate or inanimate, comes from God, who has an infinite number of manifestation and supports the entire universe, while being infinitely greater than it. To me, this conception of God as eternal, omnipotent and omniscient is not all that different from monotheistic conceptions in Judaism, Islam and Christianity -- although all of these reject the idea that lesser gods and sub-deities exist. These other religions also assert that God is the creator of the entire universe and its ruler, and that those who do not believe this cannot find salvation.

6) According to the ancient Vedic traditions in India, gods were impersonal and could not be portrayed in human form, but only symbolically. For this reason, no early icons, images or statues of the Buddha ever existed at all. On the other hand, the Greeks who settled in the East after the conquests of Alexander the Great had "no inhibitions in representing the Buddha in human form," and began the tradition of this type of art in Gandara (Kandahar) in present-day Afghanistan (Krishan, 1996, p. ix). This later spread in Central Asia, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and China, in which the Buddha was now shown to be a crowned and bejeweled king, with all the trappings of royalty. Of course, this type of art was quite different from the earliest traditions, since the Buddha had emphasized renunciation of worldly desires, pleasures, wealth and power, as had Jesus Christ. In these Asian civilizations…[continue]

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