Buddhism, which is a system of thought that originated in India, was transmitted to the rest of Asia including China by Central Asian traders as well as by the travelling Buddhist monks during the first century A.D. From China, it was also transmitted to Korea towards the fourth century, and then on to Japan by the sixth century A.D. According to history, the entry of Buddhism in China was most likely caused by the wide expansionist policies that were espoused by Chinese Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty that reigned during the period 140-87 B.C. His expansionist policies paved way for peoples of different cultures and cultural influences to enter China through secure pathways that the Han Dynasty armies created connecting China to the rest of Central Asia. As Buddhism was slowly embraced by the Chinese both as a religion and as a way of life, some Chinese traditions and thoughts also had influenced the teachings and practice of Buddhism in the country. This paper explores the impact of two of these Chinese thoughts on Buddhism.
The Two Significant Impacts that the Chinese Thought Had on Buddhism
The first Chinese thought that had an impact on Buddhism was Neo-Daoism. According to Chau (2010; 16-17), prior to the entry of Buddhism into China, Confucianism was already on the verge of decline so that the most educated Chinese scholars were in search for new systems of thought which would satisfyingly answer their questions, especially during such times of chaos among the Chinese people. And in the third century, most of them found satisfaction in the ideology espoused by Zhuangzi, whose description of the boundless Dao and the unconventional heroes to be po...
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...e Chinese, thus its revival and proliferation all over the country. In the latter, the Chan or Zen teachings of trance techniques in meditating were incorporated into the Buddhism practices, so that the Buddhism sutras were intertwined with practices of meditations through trance and finding the balance in all aspects of the individual. All these Chinese thoughts made Buddhism well-blended with the Chinese culture and traditions, as manifest through the Chinese Buddha images and the use of such in various aspects of life.
Baumer, Christoph. 2011. China 's Holy Mountain: An Illustrated Journey into the Heart of
Buddhism, London: I.B.Tauris.
Chau, Adam Yuet. 2010. Religion in Contemporary China: Revitalization and Innovation,
Taylor & Francis.
Yen, Sheng. 2007. Orthodox Chinese Buddhism, Translated by Douglas Gildow and Otto Chang,
North Atlantic Books.
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