The Spread of Buddhism in China
DBQ - 11/18/13
Buddhism started in India around the 16th century B.C.E., and after a while diffused to China in the first century of C.E.. People slowly converted to it. Many chinese people felt differently about the new religion, and others felt it was better than the one existing, and better for China as a whole. They then began to encourage conversion of religions. Then there were those guys. They didn't like Buddhism, they thought it was bad and tried to stop the diffusion.
The first, second, third, and fifth document all praise Buddism in a way. They speak proudly and nicely of it. The Buddha founded Buddhism, he said in his first sermon named "The Four Noble Truths" in the 5th centry B.C.E. that all things in life are driven by sorrow and passion. Since he did create the religion, he evidently spoke highly of it. There would probably be a lot more people against it if he didn't. Zhi Dun, a Chinese scholar, stated in document 2 that whomever follows Buddism will retrieve Nirvana at the end of their life. Nirvana is the "extinction of desire" and is good in Buddhism.
Another Chinese scholar, also liking Buddism, says when it's compared to Confucianism, that they cannot be compared and are completely opposite. This defense was stated in document 3. They say "To compare the sages of the Buddha would be like comparing a white deer to a unicorn, or a swallow to a phoenix". In his essay "On the Nature of Man", Zong Mi also states that both religions shouldn't be compared. He says they're both taught differently, and have different lessons and aproaches.
According to Zong Mi, neither religions are better than one another, and they're both to be observed with respect. Zong Mi was a leading Buddhist scholar and was favored by the Tang imperial household. There are of course several different views of Buddhism in China though. The different documents show different reactions. Han Yu, a Confucian scholar,...
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