There is no simple answer to this question, especially with the convoluted and entwining relationship between Buddhism and Wu, so we focus on how the religion assisted Wu in grasping power and its indispensable role in the Chinese economy. The close connection between government and religion is not a new concept to the Tang era as it has been well-established prior to its time, and it even survived long after. In the case of Buddhism and Empress Wu, the religion played a pivotal role in justifying her rule, which could explain her special interest in it. Among the Buddhists followers, she was identified as the bodhisattva Maitreya, which helped her gain a sense of legitimacy to her reign, especially in a male-dominant society (Smarr Feb. 17 2012). The association of Buddhism with Wu helped spur Wu’s benevolent policies towards the religion, who benefitted handsome...
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...ntly influenced more than just the expansion of the Chinese economy, it has brought in new ideas and cultures from foreign countries that have an everlasting impact on China as a whole.
Bentley, Jerry H., and Herbert F. Ziegler. Traditions & Encounters: A Global Persepective on the Past. Ed. Jessica Portz. 5th ed., 2011. 290-295. Print.
Yu, Han. “Memorial on Buddhism”. Making of the Modern World 12: Classical & Medieval Tradition. Trans. Richard F. Burton. Ed. Janet Smarr. La Jolla: University Readers, 2012. 111-112. Print.
“A Pilgrim’s Visit to The Five Terraces Mountains”. Making of the Modern World 12: Classical & Medieval Tradition. Trans. Richard F. Burton. Ed. Janet Smarr. La Jolla: University Readers, 2012. 108-110. Print.
Smarr, Janet. “Emperor Wu”. Making of the Modern World 12. Ledden Auditorium, La Jolla, CA. 17 Feb. 2012. Lecture.
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