Monday, January 13, 2020

Responses to the Spread of Buddhism

Responses to the Spread of Buddhism Although some elites in China found Buddhism to be important for the development of China between 220 CE and 570 CE, as time progressed through this period, Buddhism’s popularity seemed to decrease. Between 200 CE and 500 CE, scholars and the few followers of Buddhism seemed to have simply been trying to inform the people about Buddhism and they were attempting to gain popularity. Unfortunately, by around 819 CE, people seemed to have started disproving of Buddhism as China started to turn towards a more imperial society.Shortly after the fall of the Han Dynasty in 220 CE Buddhism started to spread very rapidly throughout the Chinese society. The people of China in this period were in a devastated state with no structured government and a falling economy. For them, Buddhism was a form of mental escape and it gave them a chance to let go of the natural world and reach a peace of mind. The first sermon preached by Buddha (Doc 1) was preached t o help people who were unaware of the religion to acknowledge it and realize that it is a religion that will give them an opportunity to forget about the current devastation they are in.The sermon teaches the people that there is no point in grieving over something and instead they should rid themselves of their pleasures and try to look beyond the material world. The sermon teaches that every negative feeling someone might have is a form of sorrow and getting rid of that sorrow is the only way to attain happiness. Zhi Dun (Document 2) is conveying both to Buddhists followers and non-followers of Buddhism that Buddha is the almighty. He is trying to teach the people that without recognizing and obeying Buddha, it is impossible to attain enlightenment.Both Dun and Buddha are find Buddhism to be relieving and are attempting to gain more followers. Both documents are attempting to convince and inform people of what Buddhism really is and how it can help one’s mental stability. A fter about 500 CE, as Chinese people seemed to start rethinking their disposition on Buddhism more people became accepting of Buddhism and other religions or philosophies to coexist. Both â€Å"The Disposition of Error† (Doc 3) and Zong Mi (Doc 5) are neutral in their point of view of religion and they are both willing to accept more than one religion. â€Å"The Disposition of Error† is claiming that Confucianism and Buddhism should both be accepted and that Confucian and Buddhist practices should not have to wholly agree with each other in order for both of them to be accepted. Although ancient Confucian scriptures to not contain any mention of Buddhism, it does not mean the Buddhism cannot be practiced by anyone because Confucian scriptures do not consist of every possible view of the world. Likewise, Zong Mi (Doc 3) believes that Confucianism, Daosim, and Buddhism all took a major role in creating the orderly society that the Chinese were currently living in.He beli eved the all three were equal in their teachings even if they were being taught in various ways and they should all be accepted with the same amount of respect. After the late 700s, as societies in China became more developed and a finally stable nation seemed to be right around the corner, people started to view Buddhism as impractical in their current societies. They felt that practicing Buddhism would cause much disruption in the society. This mentality started to develop because Buddhism asked for a person to let go of everything in life and to live independently.Unfortunately, not many people liked this lifestyle anymore because in order for the society to function there would have to be a working class and in order to increase population, a man must be able to start a family neither of which Buddhism allows. Han Yu (Doc 4) felt that Buddhism was a crude religion and that Buddha himself was an immoral person. He felt that Buddha disobeyed Confucianism which he claimed to follow and he did not even follow a simple dress code for the society.Yu sees Buddha as a form as a rebel and did not understand the importance of obeying rules. Yu is disgusted at the fact that servants and citizens are bringing back newly found remains of Buddha’s body into the palace. Similarly, Emperor Tang Wu (Doc 6) believes that practicing Buddhism is extremely unreasonable. He feels this way mainly because Buddhism does not allow men to work or contribute to society and that is vital in order for the developing Chinese society to keep building.Wu finds Buddhism as evil because he believes it causes people to abandon their responsibilities as a part of society such as having kids and cultivating their crops, much like the ideas of Han Yu. Although many different documents from various time periods were provided, additional points of view could help the reader’s analysis on the response to Buddhism more accurate. For example, all of the documents were of only elite cla ss people while the readers are unaware of what a peasant in the society feels about Buddhism.A peasant’s input would be a great contribution to the overall analysis of responses because peasants make up most of the population so their point of view would be extremely important. Another possible extra opinion could be that of a woman. Although a woman’s opinion didn’t necessarily have much importance in early China, it may still be important for us to know whether women truly accepted Buddhism, or if they went along with it only because they were forced to.All in all, Buddhism was met with many mixed reviews in its introduction shortly after the fall of the Han Dynasty. At first many people found Buddhism as an excuse to not have to cope with the devastating society they were living in. However, as time progressed and China’s future seemed much brighter, people started feeling as though Buddhism was in fact hindering the society from being able to move fo rward and catch up with the rest of the world. Overall, Buddhism has greatly affected our world’s past and present and with without it, we wouldn’

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