While there were many positive reactions to the spread of Buddhism, such as Zong Mi, A Buddhist scholar, discussing the perfect society created Buddhism, there were also many negative responses (Doc. 5). Han Yu, for example, was a Confucian scholar who believed Buddhism would weaken the government (Doc. 4).
As Buddhism spread, many scholars and government officials had positive comments. Chinese scholar, Zhi Dun speaks in favor of Buddhism when discussing Nirvana and the steps one must take to achieve it. Anyone can reach Nirvana by abiding by the commandments, reading the scriptures, and vowing to be reborn. However, Dun is a government confidant and is presumably among the higher class of China and is therefore able to enjoy its “sensual pleasures,” giving him skewed viewpoint in comparison to the lower class (Doc. 2). Another Chinese scholar who chose to remain anonymous also praises Buddhism by explaining how it subtly coexisted with Confucianism. He says plainly that Buddhism was little heard of simply because written works do not include all of the facts (Doc. 3). Additionally, he justifies the ways the monks, which in turn justify the Way of Buddha. Monks give up having wives and children to live by the Way and acquire pureness and wisdom (Doc. 3). A huge part of the Way of Buddha is the Four Noble Truths, all of which revolve around sorrow (Doc. 1). Preached by Buddha, the Four Truths say everything is sorrow, sorrow comes from desire, desire needs to be stopped, and one needs to abide by the Way (Doc. 1). Zong Mi is perhaps the most pro- Buddhism scholar. He describes Confucius and Buddha as perfect sages, establishing their ideas to reward the good and pure and punish the bad (Doc. 5). Mi believes both teachings will lead to a perfect society and should therefore be highly respected (Doc. 5).
Despite all the praise it received for spreading, Buddhism was also highly criticized. Han Yu, a Confucian scholar regarded Buddhism as “no...
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