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DBQ 2004 AP World History Exam Sample Essay G

Prompt: Based on the following documents, analyze the responses to the spread of Buddhism in China. What additional kind of document(s) would you need to evaluate the extent of Buddhism’s appeal in China?

Historical Background: Buddhism, founded in India in the sixth century B. C. E. was brought to China by the first century C. E., gradually winning converts following the collapse of the Han dynasty in 220 C.E. Buddhist influence continued to expand for several centuries. Between 220 C.E. and 520 C. E. China experienced a period of political instability and disunity. After 570 C. E. the imperial structure was restored.

Essay G

As Buddhism spread from India to China beginning in the first century C. E., it was met with mixed results. Many Chinese accepted Buddhism and defended its policies while others scrutinized Buddhism’s absence from past texts and used it as a scapegoat for political and social problems. Still others remained indifferent, wishing to meld the aspects of belief systems in China to create a unique Chinese culture. Documents 2 and 3 defend and support Buddhism in China, while documents 4 and 6 scrutinize it and discourage its spread. Documents 1 and 5 neither encourage nor discourage the religion’s spread, but provide a third perspective on how it should be dealt with. An additional document that shows the actual numbers of converts to Buddhism during this time, preferably in a graph, would be useful in determining whether or not the worries of the authors in documents against Buddhism were grounded.

Documents 2 and 3 defend and support the spread of Buddhism in China during first century C.E Document 2 speaks of the many joys of joining the Buddhist religion. However, the author, Zho Dan, is of the upper class of China and as such, his testimony do not tell how lower classes felt. Yet, in a time when Asian steppe nomads were invading northern China, Zhi Dun could have...
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