Buddhism was founded in India during the 6th century and brought to China by the first century. Buddhism spread widely and cause china to have a period of political instability and disunity, but then later restored the imperial structure. By going from India to China, it had mixed results. Many Chinese accepted Buddhism and defended it while other observed Buddhism’s absence from past texts and used it as an excuse for political and social problems. Still others remained indifferent hoping that it would all work itself out and develop into a unified Chinese culture. Documents 2 and 3 defend and encourage Buddhism while 4 and 6 scrutinize and discourage its spread. Documents 1 and 5 neither encourage or discourage the religions spread, they simply state how it should be dealt with. An additional document that would be helpful would be a chart or graph that showed the number of people who converted to Buddhism. It would be helpful to see which group of documents was correct or who was just over-reacting.
Documents 2 and 3 defend and support the spread of Buddhism. Document 2 speaks of the many joys, including Nirvana, of joining Buddhism. However, the author, Zhi Dun is part of the upper class and does not have a point of view from the lower class, which made up most of the population. Document 3 counters the scrutiny of anti-Buddhists with logic. However, since the author is anonymous, his influence in the document is difficult to pinpoint, yet his role as a scholar certainly dictates a slight upper class position, just like document 2.
Documents 4 and 6 both discourage the spread and use of Buddhism. Document 4 ridicules Buddhism as “a cult of barbarian peoples,” saying how Confucianism is all truth and Buddhism is all lies. Of course Han Yu’s position in the imperial court makes his opinions 20 times more powerful than any peasants. Document 6 blames Buddhism for all of the problems in Chinese society. Since the author is Emperor Wu...
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