Essay about Evaluate the Changes and Continuities in the Role of Religion in Chinese Society from 600 to 1450.

Words: 1070
Pages: 5

China has been the home to various religions. At different times different dynasties endorsed certain religions while repressing others. While Buddhism flourished during the Sui and Tang dynasty, it faced opposition from the government during the Song dynasty. Confucianism lost government endorsement during the Sui and Tang but gained momentum during the Song as Neo-Confucianism. Yuan dynasty promoted Islam and Tibet Buddhism but ignored Confucianism. Different rulers sponsored and protected different religions but Confucianism and some form of Buddhism have always been alive in Chinese society from 600 to 1450.
After much political disunity and chaos China was finally united under the Sui dynasty (589-618) and Sui emperors allowed
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Monks were not only exempt from paying taxes but were also exempt from military duty. During the Tang dynasty certificates were sold to monks so they could prove that they were exempted from tax and other services. Many of the elite began to buy these certificates. This decreased the quality of the monasterial community and ruined the Buddhist moral reputation. For centuries afterwards Buddhism was a tolerated religion instead the official religion of China. Wuzong also destroyed the Zoroastrian minority and his persecution of Christians lead to a fatal decrease in Christians in China. Furthermore, the scholarly elite began to favor native things to foreign things. This lead to the rise of Neo-Confucianism, new interpretations of traditional Confucian teachings. Zhu Xi, an influential philosopher, contributed to Neo-Confucian philosophy by explaining many Buddhist ideas and rituals though Confucian lenses. Furthermore, passing civil service examinations, which tested knowledge of Confucian classics, became the main way for anyone to land a governmental position.
During the Yuan (1279-1368) dynasty, the new foreign Mongolian emperors were tolerant of almost all religions. Many religious debates occurred at the court of the Great Genghis Khan in front of live audiences. However certain religious beliefs lost momentum. Confucianism declined as civil service