Buddhism in China DBQ Essay

Submitted By micaelaleigh99
Words: 1008
Pages: 5

Buddhism was one of the five major religions of the classical era. It began in India and quickly spread throughout Asia. Buddhism did not make a huge lasting impression on India but it thrived in China for centuries. These documents show different aspects of Buddhism including its teachings, its popularity, and its reasons for disbelievers. Buddhism taught of enlightenment and worldly pleasures which was very different from the still practiced ways of Confucianism; these differences from Confucianism and many others are reasons for turning against Buddhism. Last year and this year I have spent much time in class discussing the teachings of Buddhism and how these teachings affected the life of the average monk. Document two speaks of the expectations of a monk on the way to achieving Nirvana. Nirvana is described as the extinction of desire and individual consciousness from ones life. This is the ultimate goal of a committed Buddhist in order for him to reach Nirvana. Document one describes the four noble truths of Buddhism, They are the truths of sorrow, arising sorrow, stopping sorrow, and the way that leads to stopping sorrow. The basis of these truths is that everything in life either is or leads to sorrow and the only way to stop sorrow is by removing the presence of pleasure, craving, and passion from ones life. To this a man must surrender all thoughts and possibilities of having a wife and a family, the most basic worldly pleasure. They were to live in a monastery with many other monks who have given their lives for their Buddhist faith and they in prayer and bliss without the presence of pleasure, sorrow or craving. These are the basic teachings and ways of life in the Buddhist religion. Buddhism was widely accepted and practiced in China but some preferred the teaching of Confucius over the Buddhist ways. Document three asks the question, “if Buddhism is the greatest and venerable of ways, why did the great sages of the past and Confucius not practice it?” Many questions regarding the goodness of Buddhism, like this one, were made. The answer to this question was was that not all written works must be those of Confucius. I would infer that the author of this document was fairly neutral in the argument between Buddhism and Confucianism. His point of view seems to be that these religions can coexist in peace without need for speculation or comparison because they are two totally different things. In the document he stated, “to compare the sages to the Buddah would be like comparing a white dear to a unicorn.” By this he meant that though they are similar, two totally different things that need not be compared. Document 5 states that though both Confucius and the Buddah were perfect sages, they each developed individual religions with their own traditions and teachings. It states that the each had different ways of encouraging good deeds, punishing bad, and rewarding good. An interesting document to add to this group would be an evaluation and comparison of Buddhism and Confucianism done by Confucius himself. This would be interesting because not only would you know what Confucius thinks of Buddhism, but how it compares to his beloved Confucian philosophy. Both of these religions worked for the better of the state and toward and orderly society, for this, they each demand a certain amount of respect. For many reasons, including its differences from Confucianism, many people did not approve of Buddhism; document four refers to Buddhism as, “no more than a cult of the barbarian peoples spread to China.” This Confucian scholar believes that Buddhism came into China and took over without so much as conforming to their ancient laws and fashion. I would infer that the author of this document was a strong supporter of the ancient, traditional ways of Chinese law.