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From the Han dynasty to the Song Dynasty, there were a number of various views of Buddhism in China. You can see the different reactions through the documents provided revealing that there are those that oppose it, those that accept it, and those that believe in spiritual purism. From the 1st century to the 9th century, the diffusion of Buddhism to China provoked an extreme reaction by high ranking Confucian scholars. The Rejection of Buddhism stems from the foreign nature of Buddhism.
Han Yu, a leading Confucian scholar mentioned that Buddhism is “no more than a cult of Barbarian individuals” (File 4). In addition, Yu describes the Buddha as “a guy of barbarians who did not speak Chinese and who wore clothes of a different fashion” (File 4). In addition, the Tang Emperor Wu mentions that Buddhism had spread out like a “vine until it has actually poisoned the customs of our country” (File 6) Wu’s view of Buddhism might be credited to the rising tide of Neo-Confucianism.
At 350 C.
E. when the Asian steppe wanderers invaded China, people lower than the aristocrats required a sense of comfort so they turned to Buddhism. The acceptance of Buddhism relies on the tradition of the religious beliefs as the Chinese scholar, Zhi Dun specifies that whoever will behold the Buddha and be enlightened in his spirit, will then get in Nirvana” (Document 2). “The Four Noble Truths” preaches the fact of sadness, emerging of grief, stopping of grief, the manner in which results in the stopping of grief.
The stopping of sadness seems to be the main point as it is the “complete stopping of that craving, so that no enthusiasm remains, leaving it, being emancipated from it, being released from it, offering no place to it” (File 1). It is teaching the fans to be pure so that they become more detailed to their destination of Nirvana. There were likewise scholars who were neutral to the dispute. They thought that the religious beliefs could exist side-by-side with the Confucian believers triggering spiritual purism. And anonymous Chinese scholar responses questions and states that “records and teaching of the Confucian classics do not contain everything.
Even if the Buddha is not mentioned in them, what occasion is there for suspicion” (Document 3). (??? ) A leading Buddhist scholar named Zong Mi compares the teachings of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism and says “all three teachings lead to the creation of an orderly society and for this they must be observed with respect” (Document 5). In conclusion during the 1st century to the 9th, the views of Buddhism’s diffusion in China consist of those who accept it, oppose it, and believe in religious purism.
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