In the period of the 3rd century CE, China was going through major turmoil during the collapse of the Han Dynasty. Throughout and after this collapse, the population of Asian countries became increasingly Buddhist, creating tumult within the Chinese Confucian political philosophy system. In society at this time, Buddhism was viewed in many opposing ways. On one side of the spectrum, Buddhism was a way to find fulfillment, a guide to lead a good and meaningful life, and promised reward to its followers in the afterlife (or reincarnation) (Docs 1, 2, 3). In the opposing view, Buddhism was thought to be nothing more than a “cult of barbarians” (Doc 4) that was guilty of “wearing out peoples’ strength”, (Doc 6) and ”poisoning the customs of our nation”. Some went even so far to state that “there no longer remains the slightest doubt in our minds that this evil should be eradicated”. In a more neutral position regarding Buddhism’s role in society, a scholar believed that it should be viewed with respect along with Confucianism and Daoism for all being “perfect sages” (Doc 5).
Many scholars accepted the adoption of Buddhism in China. For example, Zhi Dun believed that whosoever followed the commandments of the Buddhist scriptures would enter Nirvana, achieving enlightenment (Doc 2). Zhi Dun was trying to convey hope for the people of China because this would have most likely gained more convert due to the sincerity and excitement in his speech. Along with enlightenment, Buddha promotes the four noble truths (Doc 1), which describe how everything is sorrow, and you must not crave or desire. This statement speaks volumes to citizens and the nobility of china because it shows that they are equal to each other, which is very good thing for peasants, but not so much for the nobility.
Moreover, According to Han Yu, a leading Confucian scholar and official at the Tang imperial court, Buddhism is “no more than a cult of the barbarian peoples spread to China”. Due to the...
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