Buddhism and Buddhists in China

Buddhism and Buddhists in China

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Buddhism and Buddhists in China by Lewis Hodous

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1923

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Buddhism and Buddhists in China

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Buddhism is a religion which must be viewed from many angles. Its original form, as preached by Gautama in India and developed in the early years succeeding, and as embodied in the sacred literature of early Buddhism, is not representative of the actual Buddhism of any land today. The faithful student of Buddhist literature would be as far removed from understanding the working activities of a busy center of Buddhism in Burmah, Tibet or China today as a student of patristic literature would be from appreciating the Christian life of London or New York City.

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terary ability and religious fervor to the spreading of the new religion and its success was in no small measure due to their efforts. As a result of this early association the tenets of the two religions seemed so much alike that various emperors called assemblies of Buddhists and Taoists with the intention of effecting a union of the two religions into one. If the emperor was under the influence of Buddhism he tried to force all Taoists to become Buddhists. If he was favorable to Taoism he tried to make all Buddhists become Taoists.

But such mandates were as unsuccessful as other similar schemes have been. In the third century A. D. after the Han dynasty had ended, China was broken up into several small kingdoms which contended for supremacy, so that for about four hundred years the whole country was in a state of disunion. One of the strong dynasties of this period, the Northern Wei (386-535 A. D.), was distinctly loyal to Buddhism. During its continuance Buddhism prospered greatly. Although Chinese wer

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