The Mapping of Leisure Value in Chinese Cultural Tradition

Monday, July 14, 2014: 6:15 PM
Room: F206
Oral Presentation
Ma HUIDI , Chinese National Academy of Arts, China
Er LIU , Harbin Institute of Technology, Weihai, China
In the 5000-year-long history of Chinese culture, leisure culture has played an important role in passing on Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist culture.

From ancient times to the present day, leisure, as a special cultural form, has often permeated people's lifestyles and behavioral patterns widely as a force that is direct, intimate, free, sentimental, and humanizing.  Not only has leisure aided human beings in a biological sense, helping them to recover their physical strength and energy, but through meaningful leisure activities people have brought forth many beautiful fruits -- spiritual sublimation and the release of humanistic concern and creativity. This kind of wisdom helps us to realize that "the leisure life is not a privilege limited to the rich and the successful only, but a product of a carefree mind….

But, China is entering a new historical stage: a stage of rapid changes when material wealth has been greatly increased, a stage when human beings are not in harmony with Nature, a stage full of competition among people, a stage when everyone is full of many kinds of desires.

  Unfortunately, Today, traditional values of leisure have in this multivariate social transformation been mutilated more and more; and the essence of these values has been more and more tainted with materialism; leisure value is either distorted or understood in too narrow, too shallow, and too vulgar a way.  Most people simply identify leisure with beer and skittles, with entertainment and shopping, or with what is fashionable that the rich like to boast about.

This article attempts sort out Chinese traditional leisure culture and style from Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, as well to reflection on contemporary Chinese face to the confusion and difficult due to the loss of leisure value and cultural traditions.