Before this assignment I never knew anything about Asian history until I got to this class and received this assignment. I can’t believe how much Asian history influenced the way we as Americans look at history now. In Steward Gordon’s When Asia Was The World, I found the story of Xuanzang very interesting. Xuanzang was a Buddhist monk who traveled all over to learn more about Buddhism until he became confused and decided to go to the center of Buddhism, along the way he faced many difficulties, he decided to go back to China and share what he had learned.
Buddhism began in India; it was founded by Siddhartha Gautama, a prince, born in Nepal. Siddhartha Gautama wandered around for awhile acting like a beggar to figure out why it was that people suffered that is when he became enlightened. At that moment is when he became Buddha or the enlightened one as people called him (Murphey 29). Not too long after that he did his first sermon where he had his first set of followers which will turn into 300, 00 in present day. Buddhism started out as a minority religion then transformed into a mass religion that spread from India to all the way to Southeast Asia, China, Korea and Japan (Murphey 29). However Buddhism did not spread beyond northern India. In Ceylon Buddhism was accepted and still being practiced today. They made sculptures and buildings, including statues of Buddha and his disciples. In China Buddhism continued to grow and was influenced by the leaders of the north. Buddhism was not easily accepted in Japan as many Japanese people thought of it as an alien religion (Murphey 166). In the next two centuries Buddhism became accepted in Japan, as they started to take a little bit of Chinese Culture also. Many traditions and beliefs of Buddhism stem from Hinduism, such as dharma, karma, samsara, and moksha (Murphey 27).
While reading Stewart Gordon’s When Asia Was The World I found one chapter in the book very interesting to my understanding of Asian...
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