DBQ: The Spread Of Buddhism In China

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Pages: 4

The spread of Buddhism in China was met with mixed feelings. While some accepted and embraced Buddhism in the beginning, others harshly criticized it from the start and later on, stating that the Buddha himself had no knowledge and that his teachings would corrupt China. Documents 2 and 3 are for the spread of Buddhism and documents 4 and 6 are against it; however, document 1 and 5 are neither for nor against it and instead offer a different view on the religion and give a deeper look into it.

Zhi Dun and the anonymous Chinese scholar defend Buddhism differently, but they both end up in the same position – they support the spread of Buddhism. (Doc 1 and Doc 3) Zhi Dun does not show the opposition like the Chinese scholar (Doc 3), but he says
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(Doc 4 and 6) Han Yu says that “Buddhism is no more than a cult of the barbarian peoples” and that “Buddha’s sayings contain nothing about our ancient kings”. (Doc 4) Han Yu believes that the spread of Buddhism will do harm to China, going as far as to say that “there will be those in the crowd who… mutilate their flesh in an offering to Buddha”. We can assume that Han Yu believes that people would take this religion from barbarians too far showing that it can bring no good. Han Yu then continues on to criticize the Buddha. Han Yu states that what the Buddha believed in and followed was not in accordance with what China’s laws are and that he understand nothing about China. Han Yu believes that if Buddha were still alive to day, the servant’s majesty would turn him away so that he could not delude the nation. (Doc 4) Emperor Wu sides with the view that Buddhism “poisoned the customs of our [China] nation” and should be eradicated. Emperor Wu believes that Buddhism wears our people’s strength and causes them to abandon their family or bosses for teachers. He then says that there are too many monks and that since there are people not working others suffer – “if even one main fails to work the fields, someone must go hungry”. Emperor Wu says that he has thoroughly studied the public opinion on all sides and that he believes, without a doubt, that Buddhism needs to