AP World History
20 August 2012
Spread of Buddhism in China (DBQ)
The spread of Buddhism throughout China sparked diverse responses from many individuals. Scholars from varying backgrounds and religions had differing opinions about Buddhism and multiple factors influenced their viewpoint. Factors such as what class they are from, what religion they are, and what events are happening at the time. Documents 2 and 3 are written by Chinese scholars who are in support of Buddhism and seem to be trying to inform others of the positives of Buddhism. The authors of Documents 4 and 6 are Confucian and part of the Tang court, and because of that they are against Buddhism. Documents 1 and 5 come from Buddhists (Document 1 is supposedly the first sermon preached by the Buddha himself) who are in favor of Buddhism. Chinese scholars are intelligent and literate, causing their viewpoint to be held in high regard. Because of this, Chinese scholars may have been able to influence others opinions. This is evident in Document 2, where Chinese scholar Zhi Dun tried to calm the people of the nation down and stick to their religion even when times are hard (Asian Nomads invaded Northern China during his period). Zhi Dun may have been trying to soothe the people by emphasizing on the spiritual side of Buddhism because he didn’t want the peasants to rebel. Similar to Document 2, Document 3 features an anonymous Chinese scholar who was defending Buddhism and trying to convince people to convert. In the form of a Q&A session, this Chinese scholar defends Buddhism and provides answers to difficult questions such as why Buddhism was never practiced by the sages of the past and Confucius. Both Documents 2 and 3 has authors that support Buddhism and gone out of their way to promote the religion.
Documents 4 and 5, in my opinion, are clearly written by biased authors who are anti-Buddhism. Han You, a leading Confucian scholar and official and the Tang...
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