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Spread of Buddhism to China

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Autor:   •  January 3, 2013  •  Essay  •  858 Words (4 Pages)  •  495 Views

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Spread of Buddhism to China

Buddhism, which was founded in India in the sixth century B.C.E. was brought to China by the first century C.E. When the Han dynasty collapsed, Buddhism gradually gained followers and continued expansion throughout China. From 220 C.E. to 570 C.E., China was politically unstable. Following 570 C.E., structure returned and China again became more stable. The responses to the spread of Buddhism were positive following the collapse of the Han dynasty, however when political stability returned to China, the responses were negative.

The responses to the spread of Buddhism were positive between 220 C.E. and 570 C.E. in China. Document one is the first sermon preached by Buddha in the fifth century B.C.E. It explains "The Four Noble Truths" of Buddhism, which leads Buddhists to enlightenment. This document supports Buddhism because it tells people a way to find happiness even in a time when their lives are not stable. The purpose of this document is to explain what the foundation of Buddhism is and to gain followers. Document two supports Buddhism because it's purpose is to get people to convert to Buddhism. This document is directed toward officials, telling them that if they worship Buddha, they will enter into Nirvana. This document was written in 350 C.E., and like document one, was during an unstable time period when people were looking for a form of enlightenment. Document three differs from the first and second document in that it was written when China was beginning to gain more stability, though the country was still not completely stable. This document was formatted as questions followed by answers. The questions, which opposed Buddhism, were acting as the critics to Buddhism, where the answers were the responses to the critics. This document supported Buddhism because its purpose was for a Buddhist to explain himself to the people who were against what he believed. The author of the document is anonymous, likely because he was scared of what would happen if people knew he had written something supporting Buddhism. This shows that people were beginning to turn against Buddhism as stability began to increase in China. An additional document that would be helpful to have would be a response back from the critics of Buddhism that the anonymous scholar was answering to. Document five was written in the early ninth century, long after stability had returned to China. This document is the response to the spread of Buddhism in the past. Similar to document one, it does not show any form of opposition towards those against Buddhism. This document supports Buddhism because it tells that all the religions have a purpose and a place. The purpose of this document is to reflect on the responses to the spread of Buddhism in the past and to put to rest any tension between religions. Overall, the documents written during the time of instability in China were responses that


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