Figure: buddhist writings on a stone plate Essay
Essay Topic: Buddhism
Paper type: Essay
Words: 1090, Paragraphs: 13, Pages: 5
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Source: India Ink, 2006 During the 544 and 602, Buddhist studies were at its peak. Buddhism expanded and a lot of progress was made. However it was not until 603, that the Buddhist studies and Buddhism as a religion was really accepted. Two main missions, which changed and helped, trigger the growth Buddhism came to Vietnam in this era. Venerable Vinitaruci lead the first mission in 580. He was the first Patriarch of the Zen Buddhism. Vo-Ngon-Thong lead the second mission in 820. He was the founder of another sector in Zen Buddhism.
These missions brought almost 500 monks and helped built 20 Stupas. These Stupas contained hundreds of relics, which were offered by the Chinese government as a gift. In 939, when Ngo Quyen became the king, Buddhist studies and teachings came to a halt. In China Buddhists were subjected to several punishments and were not allowed to preach and even practice their religion. Later when Dinh-Bo-Linh came in to power, Buddhism started to prosper. He acted as a protector of the religion and Buddhism was studied and adopted by many people till Dinf-Bo-Linh’s reign till 1009.
Ngo Chan Luu was a famous scholar and a refined Buddhist. Due to his talents the emperor made him the head of Sangha (Community of Buddhist monks). This Sangha was recently created by the Emperor himself in order to provide a vent for the Buddhist studies. Ngo Chan Luu was later made the Imperial councilor and was given the title of Khuong Viet. The emperor called him the master and supporter of Vietnam in order to show that he acknowledged his advices and help in public affairs. Many scholars of that time were bestowed with titles.
Buddhists at that time were given financial aid in order to built Stupas and scholars were given money to study . This was the time when Tripitika was brought to Vietnam for the first time. Before that people in Vietnam did not know how to read and write in Chinese. As Vietnamese language lacked its own script, many Buddhists books were translated into Chinese. After this, Scholars were able to learn more about Buddhism as now they had books to read from. This made the monks also more learned and respected all over Vietnam.
As Chinese writings were new in Vietnam, there were very few people who could read and write and these were monks and scholars of Buddhism. A scholar at that time was respected a lot and as most of the scholars were Buddhists, people started to go to them in order to learn. This helped spread Buddhist teachings . CONTRIBUTION OF BUDDHIST STUDIES After Confucianism and Taoism, Buddhism came to Vietnam via China. After almost four hundred years, since the first Buddhist entered Vietnam, Vietnam finally got independence.
After this Buddhism prospered and grew very fast. During 968 to 1414 it was the state religion. Many emperors at that time accepted and preached Buddhism themselves. Many of them became monks and left the worldly desires behind. Buddhist studies have influenced every one from every walk of life. Majority of the people accepted Buddhism as a peaceful religion. The moral and spiritual studies really changed the lives of many people. They called it the religion of compassion. Buddha was the greatest of all teachers.
His teachings were studies throughout Vietnam. Even artists, philosophers and writers were inspired from Buddhists teachings. In 1966 the World’s first Sangha Council was convened. It was attended by leading monks from all over the World. Buddhists from Mahayana as well as Theravada sects also came. This convention proved to be a bridge between different sects of Buddhism. According to Ven. Walpola Rahula, there are almost nine points which are common in the teaching of both Mahayana and Theravada. These are:
– The only master is Buddha – Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha are the three jewels of Buddhism. We take refuge in all of them. – We do not believe that this world was created by a God – The purpose of our lives is to find the ultimate truth. We do not believe in discrimination and work for good, happiness, and peace of others – We believe in the four noble truths: Dukkha, the Arising of Dukkha, the Cessation of Dukkha, and the Path leading to the Cessation of Dukkha; and the law of cause and effect
– All conditioned and uconditioned things are without self. However, conditioned things are impermanent – The path leading to enlightenment has thirty seven qualities. All of these are in accordance to the teachings of Buddha – Enlightenment can be attained by three methods; it can be attained as a disciple (sraavaka), as a Pratyeka-Buddha and as a Samyak-sam-Buddha – There are certain essential teachings of Buddha and they remain the same whether it is a different place or a country.
According to a European Author “Buddhism was the first foreign influence which had a powerful bearing on the evolution of Chinese thought; and the effect of such an influence was to rekindle, stimulate and develop to the highest pitch not only the religion but also all the other spheres of its civilisation A casual glance, even by one who is almost completely unaware of the spiritual world of China, at the plastic arts of China shows how completely they stem from the spirit of Buddhism and how wonderfully they blossomed forth during the Buddhist period” .
Buddhism had a great influence on the architecture, sculpture and paintings of Vietnam. During the seventeen centuries, in which it was under the influence of Buddhism, Vietnamese Buddhists has learned to vent their knowledge and skills in many ways. It is not only a monk who has the knowledge of the teachings of Buddha. A poet, a writer and a painter can sometimes express in a better way. In early days when there were no schools, people sent their children to monasteries in order to learn and write.
People who wanted to learn Chinese had to become students of monks. The monks not only helped them learn the language, but learn the divine way of achieving enlightenment. This helped spread Buddhism far and wide, and the Buddhist studies developed by leaps and bounds. During 1010 and 1225 when the Buddhism religion was at its peak, it was very difficult to find a good scholar or a poet, outside the Buddhist community. They were the most learned and respected of all the people. Monks were considered as people who were beyond all the worldly desires.