When Buddhism was brought to Ancient China in 1st century C. E. , it progressively won converts after the fall of the Han Dynasty. Buddhism continued to influence China for centuries. The extent of Buddhism’s appeal can be traced throughout its existence in ancient China. Buddhism had distinct influence in ancient China. According to Buddha, life is ultimately suffering. Desire is the cause of suffering, when one rids themselves of desire, their suffering will be over. “The Fourth Noble Truth is the Noble Truth of the Way that leads to the Stopping of Sorrow. (Buddha) This concept appealed to many people in ancient China. The fall of the Han Dynasty left them confused and lost, so Buddhism seemed like the answer their problems. Buddha saw the positive aspects of Buddhism. As an enlightener and messenger, he sought to have his message spread. Zhi Dun was a Chinese scholar who lived when Buddhism first began in ancient China. He felt that Buddhism was ultimately enlightening. According to Dun, Buddhism was an opportunity to fix the problems left after the fall of the Han Dynasty.
According to an anonymous Chinese scholar, beliefs systems can coexist but there is a challenge of Confucianism. This scholar lived towards the end of Buddhism in ancient China. This scholar believed that Buddhism didn’t solve problems in Ancient China. He believed that Confucianism was the best belief system for ancient China. Not everyone in Ancient China saw the positive appeal of Buddhism. Han Yu was a Confucian scholar. He was completely against Buddhism and believed that the people of Ancient China shouldn’t honor this belief system.
According to Yu “If these practices are not stopped, there will be those in the crowd who will cut off their arms and mutilate their flesh in offering to the Buddha. ” Based on this statement, Yu believed Confucianism was right for China; he believed that Buddhism would only cause more problems for Ancient China. He believed this because he was Confucian scholar; he had high status in Chinese society, he practiced Confucianism and taught others about Confucianism. Zong Mi was a Buddhist scholar who believed that Confucianism, Laozism, and Buddhism all fit the needs of their time.
According to his essay entitled “On the Nature of Man,” Mi believed that Laozism, Buddhism, and Confucianism, all provided order and a similar purpose in ancient China. These belief systems were the best solution for ancient China during the time periods they emerged because they restored order and unity. Emperor Wu felt differently about Buddhism in ancient China. He believed Buddhism was evil and should be destroyed. As Emperor, he had high status in Chinese society under Confucianism. With Buddhism in ancient China, he would lose his status within Chinese society.
Buddha preached social equality for all, so even an emperor would be on the same social level as peasants and everyone else in Chinese society. Emperor Wu already had high status in Chinese society with Confucianism in practice, so he didn’t want a new belief system such as Buddhism, lowering his status among peasants and slaves. In conclusion, Buddhism spread to ancient China in 1st century C. E. , it progressively won converts. Buddhism also had many opposers. This greatly affected its appeal in ancient China. The extent of Buddhism’s appeal can be traced through its existence in ancient China.
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