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Budhism is an ancient spiritual tradition that normally focuses on the attainment of deep insight meaning of true nature of life. The religion is also focused on the development of the spiritual being of the believers. At the moment there are about 376M followers of the religion. The religion is found on some of the regions in Asia. The two common countries that have very many followers are China and Korea. In Buddhism, there is no believing in personal god rather on the deep meaning of life. The believers believe that the religion is all about life and there is nothing that is permanent because there is always a room for change and improvement. It is so because the path of enlightenment is all about life happening teachings. The religion began in the 3rd century and spread to a large are in Asia. The history of the rise of Buddhism since 3rd century until when it spread to a larger region.
Missionaries were sent to Northwest part of India which is now Pakistan and Afghanistan with a purpose of ensuring that the region poses a huge following in terms of the believers of Buddhism . The mission achieved a greater success as the natives of the place showed interest in knowing and learning about the new religion. During that time, there were a lot of merchants from central Asia who traveled to Northwest India for purpose of trading but also came across the religion. They learned about it and started practicing it. As they moved back from central Asia, they had become believers of this kind of Religion. The same merchants influenced the people who were left behind in Central Asian. The Chinese then came to know about Buddhism religion through the people of central Asia as they were also doing regional trade with them. In central Asia cities such as the great Khotan was popular and had attained the right to be refered to as center for the Buddhism religion. Therefore the Chinese people had their early experience with the religion via the natives of central Asia. They had already become Buddhist. From that point, the religion started spreading to other parts of China and the Chinese people loved and liked it.
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The Swell of Buddhism among the Chinese
The political strength of the Han Dynasty in China had increased making it easy for the kingdom to extend its powers the central Asia. As the power of the Han Dynasty extended to central Asia, there was an increase in interaction through trade and the cultural ties. Through this interaction, the Chinese people learned about the Buddhism religion.. The aggressiveness of the Chinese people to learn about Buddhism grew prompting the great linguists to write the Buddhism in the Chinese language. However, it was very difficult because the earliest translators find it hard to get the exact words to use during the process of translation. It became easy when they began using the Taoist in the same parts of their translation (Pu-chu, 1960). The step of translating the teachings of the religion into the Chinese language was a huge mark towards increasing the followers of Buddhism within the whole region of Chinese people. At the time when China faced disunity, people thought that the spread of religion will stop. It was contrary as people continued with the mission and the aggressive nature of trying to find what Buddhism is all about and the teachings of the religion. By 15th century both the north and the southern part of China had different leaders but the spread and establishment of Buddhism did not come to a halt. More so in Northern China where the rulers favored the religion, it’s spread was tremendous. This step increases the number of the people who wanted to join the following of Buddhism.
Schools of Buddhism in China
Tang dynasty rose hence the religion spread immensely in China. The religion spread across the nation reaching out to more people. Nevertheless, the people were also hungry with the quest to know and start believing in the teaching of the religion. At the seventh century the number of translators had increased, however, they were faced with a problem of teaching the religion to a large number of people who wanted to practice the religion (Beal, 2012). This problem was countered with the establishment of schools in China which were used to teach the religion. The schools that had been created focused on different aspects of the Buddhism teaching depending on the themes and the basic aspects which they wanted the people to understand. For instance, the Tian-tai school decided to teach a system which emphasized on Lotus Sutra. Therefore different schools had different curriculum depending on the teaching and the location of the school.
The two well known schools in China were pure lands school and Chan. Chan institution used to emphasize on how meditation which is a direct injection way of gaining the meaning of life and experiencing the enlightenment in the life. On the other side the Chan dealt with the issues of change in life. The school mostly taught about change in life. It meant that there is nothing which is permanent in life as long as time rolls on. Nevertheless, the school had also centered its teachings on repeatedly saying of the name of Amitabha Buddha which teaches people that they wills be born in western paradise in case they recite it. This school became the most successful school of the Buddhism ensuring that the spread of the religion happens across the whole nation of China. Due to the simplicity of the recitation of the name of Amitabha Buddha the religion became popular and spread throughout China.
Despite the huge spread of Buddhism In China, it faced a huge challenge when emperor of Taoist demanded the prosecution of the religion and be stopped immediately in the nation. The Emperor ordered the people to begin practicing Taoism and Confucianism as the only known religions in the Nation. However, this did not change the feeling and the love of the people towards Buddhism as they decided to practice Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism simultaneously (Gethin, n.d.). The people of China were forced to practice the other forms of religion and leave Buddhism due to the fact that it had bad teachings and it didn’t have any relation with Supreme Being. The believer followed the rules of the state but they practiced both religions. Currently, in China, there are three most common religions that have about the same percentage of people. The three religions are Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. Despite the challenges, the Buddhism was faced with its rose and spread in China
The spread of Buddhism in China was due to interaction with the people from Central Asia. The Chinese people came in contact with Buddhism in the process of interacting with the central Asian people. From that point, the religion has been able to spread to the whole Nation despite the challenges that it faced.
- Beal, S. (2012). Buddhism in China. Delhi: Vasu Publications.
- Gethin, R. The foundations of Buddhism.
- Pu-chu, C. (1960). Buddhism in China. Peking: The Buddhist Assoc. of China.