Buddhism originated in India in the sixth century B.C.E. and was brought to China by the first century C.E. Overtime, many Chinese people converted to Buddhism, especially after the fall of the Han dynasty. During the Era of Division between 220 C.E. and 570 C.E., many Confucian and Buddhist scholars viewed Buddhism as a positive, unifying force for China during that tough time of instability because it gave the people something to look to for hope. However, after 570 C.E., Confucian scholars started rejecting Buddhism, feeling that it was becoming a threat to the scholar-gentry class and the Confucian-based Chinese society as a whole. Despite this change of opinion about Buddhism after 570 C.E., some scholars continued to feel that Buddhism benefitted China due to its values and teachings. One additional document that could be useful would be one from the point of view of a peasant to see the way Buddhism effected the lower classes of China before and after 570 C.E. and to see if they saw Buddhism as a positive or negative factor in their lives.
Before 570 C.E., a majority of Chinese scholars viewed Buddhism as a positive aspect of their culture. Right after the fall of the Han empire, China was in chaos and was not as unified as they used to be. The bureaucracy was weakened and China was politically unstable. The common people and the scholar-gentry class needed something to look to. Documents one, two, and three were all written before 570 C.E. and they demonstrate how Buddhism’s teachings benefit all people. Document one is according to Buddhist tradition and states that life is full of sorrow and that the only way to stop sorrow is by stopping cravings and selfish desires. By following the Four Noble Truths, people will be relived from their sorrow. Document two, written by Zhi Dun, states that whoever follows Buddhism’s beliefs and lives their lives purely will reach Nirvana and will not have to suffer anymore. Because of Zhi Dun’s high...
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