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Raising a Rebel Chapter 8 is Live



Chapter 8

Oh heavenly politics :( 

Some interesting things to think about in this chapter, historically Chinese civilization did begin to hybridize Buddhism and Taoism around this point in history. The blending was partly due to the invasion of barbarian tribes from the steppes with a need to unify various systems together to act as a counterweight. They incorporated mixed belief systems similar to how Romans adopted Egyptian gods or Persian deities in the Middle East, while still worshipping native pantheon or the Olympian pantheon. 

A key thing to consider here is the inherent issue between Taoism and Buddhism, Taoism is a belief in restraint versus Buddhism is a belief in relieving suffering. The idea of vanquishing evil and demons was inherent in both faiths, but a caveat is Taoist would wait and evaluate the situation fully before action, while an unorganized Buddhist religion without a central authority at the time would push for immediate action. People assume Buddhism is a pacifistic religion, but it really depends on your interpretation of what "ending suffering" means, especially without rules on how far you can take the cause. In India during the height of Buddhism, leaders were slaughtering foes under the belief that they were ending suffering "for their people". What better way to end a cycle of war than to wipe out entire kingdoms that opposed you? (The Buddha would probably have been horrified at what his followers did in his name and beliefs). Under such ideas, genocide doesn't seem wrong or cruel. Taoism is a religion of compromised action, seeking to make decisive action impactful, but as a belief system, it has several issues that most scholars in Dynastic China have noted that lead to corruption. Finally, within this framework of beliefs and the bureaucracy that I am describing, there is the ever-present issue of Confucianism. I don't mention it by name, but it is present in all areas of life and manner of ideals. During this period, a breakdown of civil society led to the problems inherent in nations such as Jin Dynasty that appear in the Heavenly Court, reflecting current social mores, Confucian ethics have failed to live up to the promise. In order to maintain the status quo, leaders compromise their ethics further weakening systems and ideas in favor of greater conflict and self-destructive tendencies.

Beyond the social/theological concepts I added to the story, the overall plot is getting more intricate. Xu Xiwang, despite being only a teenager, is now branded for death due to continuing injustice against his ancestors and perpetrated by a system that cannot accept their error. The alliance of the Taoist Heavenly Court and Fahai Buddhist may preserve the status quo, but it creates new victims. You can be assured Xiwang isn't the only one to face issues in this alliance.

For Characters, I wanted to show off Hua Cheng's intelligent and witty side that he exhibits in the novels. It would be such a charming idea to think that he inspired Sun Wukong later to be the wise-cracking Monkey King in the centuries after this time. Wukong himself is learning and gathering knowledge through observation, just as any student of Taoism would, at according to the Tao Te Ching. An interesting thing to consider as a difference between Western magic and Eastern magic user training, the Taoist idea is that a student learns through observation rather than going to class at Hogwarts to do spells and charms :o  While Wukong may not be taught in the traditional sense "magic" like western stories, he's learning "magic" through observing the practice of it. That's the first level of magical training, then the next is surpassing what you have seen to improve it. Eastern magic is based on self-learning and ingenuity with basic philosophical guidance.

Don't be surprise to see Wukong experiment with magic soon.

Edited by W_L

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