Han Dynasty

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When the Han Dynasty of China fell in 220 AD, the country fell into turmoil and was ripped apart by power hungry warlords, looking to seize control of the tattered nation. During this time, Buddhism spread quickly throughout China, gathering many followers. It wasn’t until 570 AD that the Kingdom was restored to , with the Sui Dynasty soon taking over. Around this time, Buddhism saw a drastic halting in its spread. During the time it spread throughout China, Buddhism was met with pious adoration, censure and tolerance.

While feudal warlords fought over land, the people of China suffered. Even in the midst of this semi-civil war, they had to deal with the nomadic Mongolians attacking their northern border. The people needed something to put their faith in, and that is where they found Buddhism. In a time of so much death, destruction, and despair, Buddhism alleviated people’s sorrows by explaining how to stop the miseries of their lives through the Four Noble Truths. (Document # 1) People like the scholar Zhi Dun promised that those who followed the Buddhist Scriptures and lived the Buddhist lifestyle would be rewarded with Nirvana, the extinction of desires, and the in the afterlife. (Document # 2) Zhi Dun would have followed Buddhism because the invading nomads were driven by greed to pillage and plunder, that having no desire for material things would lead to peace. Those who converted to Buddhism gave up the Confucian way of life, which put importance on family, property, and having a place in society. In the work, “The Disposition of Error”, a Chinese scholar defends Buddhism by saying these things were decadent luxuries of the bourgeoisies, which only provide a desire for more of the luxurious items/activities. He argued that failure to fulfill desires only leads to sorrow, and that wisdom and the Buddhist way of life could replace those desires, therefore replacing the sorrow. (Document # 3) Due to of all said wondrous promises, and the fact that the...
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