Buddhism In China

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade December 2001

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Buddhism in China         Undoubtedly, many Chinese people are Buddhists. What this number may be we have no means of finding out, but in every town and village a Buddhist temple or temples can be seen with numerous worshipers.         In my paper, I will explore Chinese Buddism's history, phenomalism, and practices.

        It was the period from the dawn of the Han dynasty (25-220 CE) to the fall of the Western Chin dynasty (265-317 CE) to the Huns that Buddhism was introduced into China by two buddhist missionaries from India. Chinese emperors also sent missions to India to collect original texts and ordered the translation from Sanskrit to Chinese.(Edkins 6)         Buddhism arrived in China at a fortunate time where its core values and beliefs paralleled with the will of many. The conquered North was occupied and divided between various sinicized peoples, who soon were warring with one another. In the South, the upper classes who devoted their lives to academics and literature began to explore Buddhism.

Buddhism was adopted and promoted by many of the occupying dynasties in the North, where it eventually would achieve a popularity nearing the status of a state religion. For a time, Buddhism had asserted its own independent identity and drew more attention from native Chinese followers. During 424-451, Chinese Buddists experienced persecution under Emperor Wu or Shih-tusu. However, during the short-lived Sui dynasty (581-618), the North and South traditions of Buddhism were united. The T'ang Dynasty (618-907) was the Golden Age of Chinese Buddhism. At the end of the Sui and during the opening years of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), a series of Chinese Buddhists emerged to establish the major sects and schools. All of these schools and others enjoyed a period of state religion status under the first couple centuries of the T'ang dynasty. This period closed with the catatrophic persecutions and the collapse of the Tang dynasty. During the reign of Emperor Wu-tsung...