Buddhism in China

Essay by wellywell34College, UndergraduateA-, March 2014

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China and Buddhism � PAGE �7�

China and Buddhism

Richard Wellman Azusa Pacific Online University

Buddhism is one of the twelve classical religions, and not only is the most popular religion in China but approximately 6% of the people on Earth are subscribers of the Buddhist faith. Although we can not know the exact number of Buddhists in China, it is said that almost every town and village within the country has at least one Buddhist temple, where numerous worshipers can be seen at any time of the day. In this paper multiple things will be discussed and explored but the main topics in this paper will be that of the history of Buddhism in China, the practices, and the phenomenology that can be found within the country.

It was the period from the dawn of the Han dynasty to the fall of the Western Chin dynasty to the Huns that Buddhism was first introduced into the country of China by two Indian missionaries looking to spread the word of Buddhism.

After this and the interest in the religion began to grow Chinese emperors commissioned journeys into India so that original texts could be collected and eventually translated from the native Sanskrit to Chinese. (Edkins 6) When talking about original texts it is important to note that there were no important writings of Buddhism until three hundred years after the death of Buddha. The Pli Canon is the oldest known writings, and it consists of the rules that are followed by monks and is also the main source of reading and doctrine for modern day Buddhists in China.

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 simonized peoples,