Han Yu and his Memorial to Buddhism
Han Yu wrote his Memorial to Buddhism, in protest to the emperor’s belief and devotion to a relic of Buddha’s finger bone. He writes in order to project why there were many Chinese people who did not believe or want to follow the idea of Buddhism. Why would Han Yu write a letter against the belief and idea of Buddhism? What made Han Yu so passionate about the subject that he would write basically blasphemy in his country? Han Yu felt strongly about his convictions in Confucianism, and in doing some more research you can see why. Han Yu was born to a literate family, which was rare during this time, and in his good fortune he learned how to read and write. Not only was he literate, but he was also a student of Confucian ideals and thought. His upbringing alone made him bias on the whole subject. There is no Confucian Buddhist out there. There is no way these two ideas can co-exist in one believer- In a society, yes, but in one individual? No way. Yu uses examples of past rulers and their beliefs as a firm argument in which he denounces any power that Buddhism may have as opposed to that of Confucianism. Being an advocate of his own upbringing, he argues that past emperors that followed the ideals of Buddhism had considerably shorter less successful reigns as compared to that of rulers who studied Confucianism. Han Yu States, “The Buddhist doctrine first appeared in the time of the Emperor Ming of the Han dynasty, and the Emperor Ming was a scant eighteen years on the throne. Afterwards followed a succession of disorders and revolutions, when dynasties did not long endure. From the time of the dynasties Song, Qi, Liang, Chen, and Wei, as they grew more zealous in the service of the Buddha, the reigns of kings became shorter.” (Yu Pg.1) This argument alone would surface just a disagreement, but Yu went on to call Buddha’s finger bone a “filthy object” in the letter and stated that it should be 'handed over to the proper...
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