Buddhism is one of the biggest religions founded in India in the 6th and 5th cent. BC by Siddhartha Gautama, called the Buddha. One of the great Asian religions teaches the practice of the observance of moral precepts. The basic doctrines include the four noble truths taught by the Buddha. Since it was first introduced into China from India, Buddhism has had a history that has been characterized by periods of sometimes awkward and irregular development. This has mainly been the result of the clash of two cultures, each with a long history of tradition. Most of the difficulties have arisen due to the transplanting of an Indian religious/philosophical system onto a culture strongly dominated by indigenous secular, philosophical and religious systems. In spite of these difficulties, Chinese Buddhism has come to have an important influence on the growth and development of Buddhism in general and this has occurred largely because of its own innovatory contributions.(Eliade, M. p.16-29) The spread of Buddhism into China began in Central Asia and was facilitated by the efforts of the Indo-Scythian king Kanishka (Encyclopedia Britt. 273-274) of the Kushan dynasty which ruled in northern India, Afghanistan and parts of Central Asia in the 1st and 2nd centuries (Encyclopedia Britt. 274). He is said to have undergone an Ashoka-like conversion upon seeing the slaughter caused by his campaigns. Around the beginning of the common era, Buddhism started to filter into China from Central Asia via the Silk Road, brought by monks, merchants and other travelers. It also entered later via trade routes around and through Southeast Asia. It was nurtured in the expatriate community of Loyang and other northern cities. (The Encyclopedia of Religion p58-62) Siddhartha (Buddha) was born around 563 B.C.E. in the town of Kapilavastu (located in today's Nepal). Siddhartha's parents were King Shuddhodana and Queen Maya, who ruled the Sakyas. His history is a miraculous one... One... [continues]
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