Although the fall of The Han and subsequent need for consolation beyond Confucianism led to the spread of Buddhism, it was met with mixed reactions. Being a religion of salvation it was popular with the ordinary citizens, but governments or groups seeking order opposed its unorganized guidelines. Therefore, Buddhism spread greatly during the period of the warring states, when there was no order and there was a need for salvation among the Chinese people.
The first grouping is documents two and five, written by scholars who strongly favor Buddhism. The second was written by scholar, author and aristocratic confidant Zhi Dun circa 350 CE a time of dysfunction and war in China. It praises the benefits of living a Buddhist life, which include entering Nirvana, the level of Enlightenment and the extinction of desire and consciousness, with the ability to behold the Buddha. The fifth is from Zong Mi, leading Buddhist scholar favored by the Tang imperial household early 9th century. It offers that Confucius, Laozi, and the Buddha were perfect sages, and that there philosophies lead to a orderly society. It is unique in that it offers to coexist among the three and intertwine them to perfect society.
The second grouping is those that inform rather than offer persuade. It contains the first document, written by Buddha himself, and the third by an anonymous scholar. In the first, The Buddha aims to explain the four Noble truths around 400 BCE, a time when Buddhism is just beginning with a small audience of converts. He explains each using ‘sorrow’ as the building block for his lifestyle. The third is a disposition, a written debate, both with Anti- Buddhist attacks, and Buddhist rebuttals, in question-answer form. It perfectly embodies the strong polarized views of those for and against the lifestyle.
The final grouping contains government officials of the later Tang who strongly oppose the practice of Buddhism, shown in documents four and six....
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