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Spread of buddhism throughout China Essay

Buddhism, originally from India, was widely accepted at first because of it power to diminish the caste system. Buddhism gained most of its popularity during 220 CE and 570 CE after the downfall of the Han Dynasty. Once power was regained though it can easily be understood why people in the upper class began to disapprove of the new religion. While the Chinese initially accepted Buddhism into their culture during a down fall of the dynastic rule, once power was regained many began to point out the lack of Buddhism in historical text and supposed negative effect it was having on the Chinese people. An additional document from the perspective of an underclass citizen who converted to Buddhism would be more helpful in understanding the overall appeal that people had to Buddhism.

For a few hundred years after Buddhism was introduced to China, its practices and texts were defended. Zhi Dun, the Chinese scholar, expressed that who ever fulfilled the Buddhist practices would reach Nirvana. (Doc #2) The extra document would be useful here because Zhi Dun being a scholar did not necessarily see things from the average persons perspective. The view of the anonymous scholar appears the same as he defends the works of Buddha against the teachings of Confucius. (Doc #3) Both seem to agree though on the teachings that eliminating craving and passion would stop the sorrow in ones life. (Doc #1)

Once imperial rule was restored the scholars began to object to its many teachings, looking for logic to back their arguments. Han Yu, the leading Confucian scholar, believed that because there was a lack of Buddhist evidence in Confucius texts that the religion was barbaric and did not conform to ancient Chinese practices. (Doc #4) The Tang Emperor Wu, blamed Buddhism for downfalls under his rule such as hunger and poverty. He held much influence and many people began to listen to him and believe his grand scapegoat. (Doc #6) The perspective from an underclass citizen would have been perfect to determine if Wu’s claims of increased social depression were grounded.

According to Buddhist traditions the path to stopping sorrow was a simple as following the Four Noble Truths.

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