HOW BUDDHISM BECAME CHINESE Name: Kuz Anastasiia Student id.: 2017190274 School of Philosophy 2018
Contents Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1 I. Historical background …………………………………………………………………………………….. 2 1.1. Four stages of growth ……………………………………………………………………………….. 2 1.2. Factors favoring Buddhism in ancient China ……………………………………………….. 4 II. The magic of Chinese Buddhism ……………………………………………………………………. 6 2.1. Translating Buddhism into Chinese: some issues …………………………………………. 6 2.2 Buddhism understanding. ………………………………………………………………………….. 9 2.3. Evaluation ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 10 III. Modern Chinese Buddhism …………………………………………………………………………… 12 Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 14 Bibliography ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 15
1 Introduction Buddhism’s encounter with Chinese civilization is one of the most momen- tous stories ofintercultural assimilation in human history. The two traditions blended so thoroughly that it is easy to forget that Buddhism was a very foreign import when it was first brought to China, and that five centuries passed before the Chinese felt that they had a full picture ofwhat it had to offer. Of all the Asian civilizations that Buddhism encountered outside ofIndia, China’s was by far the most sophisticated, complex, and ethnocentric, with its own thoroughly developed system ofsocial organization, religious ideology, and speculative thought. Nevertheless, Buddhism had a great deal to offer that the Chinese lacked, and this offering came at a troubled point in Chinese history, when many Chinese were ready to learn from people whom they otherwise considered barbarians. Buddhism’s contribution comprised four levels, dealing with institutions, devotion, doctrine, and meditation techniques. On the institutional level, the monastic Sangha offered something totally new to China: a chance for men and women from all levels of society to devote their lives fully to a religious vocation. This was particularly important during the wars of the late third and early fourth centuries, when the basic units ofthe Chinese social and religious framework the family and the state-were falling apart. Nevertheless, despite its defeat on the doctrinal level, Buddhism maintained its strength as an institution, a devotional religion, and a system ofmeditation training still open to all. Ch’an retained some of its intellectual currency, serving as an individualistic alternative to the often stifling orthodoxy of the neo-Confucian ideology. As a result, Buddhism came to play a role that it was best equipped to play, standing somewhat outside the social order, offering haven to those who found that order restrictive or repressive, but in no way threatening the peace and well-being ofsociety.
2 I. Historical background 1.1. Four stages of growth As Buddhism grew after the Buddha and beyond India, it profoundly changed cultures and was in turn fundamentally changed by those very same cultures. Even today, Buddhism continues to grow on a more global scale, and is undergoing further significant changes. As an interesting example of this historical process, we shall briefly examine how Buddhism arose and changed in China. We shall especially discuss how such changes occurred because of the prominence of persons, usually a great Chinese master (such as Dàosh?ng), or even a powerful political figure (such as the empress W? Zéti?n), and how Buddhism, as a religion, reinvents itself to grow or, at least, survive. Such Buddhist continuities and changes in China further profoundly influenced the Buddhist traditions of east Asia right down to modern times. Dan Lusthaus, in his 1998 entry on ? Buddhist philosophy, Chinese in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy1, divides the development of Chinese Buddhism roughly into four periods: (1) 1th- 4th centuries: Early introduction of Indian and Central Asian Buddhism; (2) 5 th – 7 th centuries: Formative development of Chinese versions of Indian and Central Asian schools; (3) 7 th – 12 th centuries: The emergence of distinctively Chinese Buddhist schools; (4) 13th century onwards: The continuance of Chinese Buddhism into the present day. The first Buddhists in China were neither Indians nor missionaries: they were Central Asian and Iranian traders who were Buddhists, and who made no particular effort to proselytize the local people. The first missionaries began trickling in during the 1th century CE onwards, and were probably Buddhist monks from Parthia and other parts of Central Asia, and later monks and nuns came both by land and by sea from India and Sri Lanka, either invited by the merchants living in China or underwent the perilous journeys themselves. Shortly before the Common Era, when Buddhism began to enter China from India and Central Asia, Confucianis had enjoyed supremacy for over a century, and the teachings of L?oziand of Zhu?ngzi (as part of the Huángl?o Daoist ” tradition) were established in both the philosophical and religious spheres. Daoism (dàoji?o ) was essentially humanistic, idealizing harmony between man and nature, idealized in the xi?n (, , ) or immortal. Confucianism, on the other hand, preaches a social ethics of harmonious human relationships 1 See http://www.rep.routledge.com/article/G002SECT2
3 centering around family and state, but strongly hierarchical and patriarchal, with the ideal man as j?nzi , the noble man or true gentleman. In the fifth century, Buddhism began to emerge from its quasi-Daoist label by clarifying definitive differences between Buddhist and Daoist thought. Daoist vocabulary and literary styles were shared and new distinctively Buddhist terminology and genres were developed. Even though Mah?y?na Buddhism was a minority school in India and had few followers in Central Asia, it became the dominant form of Buddhism in China to the extent that the ancient Chinese Buddhists would often disapprovingly, even derisively, label non-Mah?y?na forms of Buddhism as hina, yana (literally ? low or inferior vehicle). By the sixth century, the Chinese had been introduced to a variety of Buddhist theories and practices representing a wide range of Indian Buddhist schools. As the Chinese struggled to master these doctrines, it became evident that, despite the fact that these schools were all supposed to express the One Dharma (Buddha’s Teaching), their teachings were not homogenous, and were often incompatible, even contradictory. By the end of the sixth century the most pressing issue facing Chinese Buddhists was how to iron out the disparities amongst the various teachings. Responses to this issue produced the Chinese Mahyna schools, that is, Buddhist schools that originated in China rather than India. The four Chinese schools are Ti?ntái (), Huáyán (), Chán () and Pure Land (Jìngt? ). Issues that these schools share in common include Buddha-nature, mind, emptiness, Tathagata, garbha, skillful means (upaya), overcoming birth and death (samsara), and awakening (bodhi). From the 4th through the 7th centuries, Buddhists scholars in China periodically realized that their Buddhist texts and notions were often at variance with their Indian antecedents. They tried to correct the problem either through the introduction of additional translations or by clarifying differences between Buddhist and native Chinese ideas. By the 8th century, the Chinese had apparently become satisfied with the types of Buddhism they had developed since, from that moment on they lost interest in Indian commentaries and treatises, and instead turned their attention toward Chinese commentaries on the texts—such as the Lotus Sutra and the Garland Sutra—that had assumed importance for the Chinese Buddhist traditions. Moreover, even though Buddhist missionaries continued to arrive in China and new translations continued to be produced up to right through the 13th century, none of the significant developments in Indian Buddhism (such as Buddhist syllogistic logic) from the 7th century on had
4 any lasting impact on Chinese Buddhism, and many important texts and thinkers (eg, Dharmakirti, Candrakirti, and Santaraksita) remained virtually unknown in East Asia until modern times.2 1.2. Factors favouring Buddhism in ancient China Arrival of Buddhism. Although the ? official introduction of Buddhism into China was said to have occurred during the reign of emperor Míng of Hàn (Hànmíngdì 28-75, r 68-75), the second emperor of the Eastern or Later Hàn Dynasty, Buddhism was already known before that.3 In other words, Buddhism did not arrive wholesale in China, the way, say, Islam of the Turkish mujahidin did in 12century India. Buddhism basically trickled in ? “the way most ideologies with staying power latch themselves to the minds and imaginations of a people”.4 During the reign of Míngdì (68-75 CE) Buddhism received a strong boost in China, so that by 200 CE, there were Chinese translations of Buddhist texts.5 Beginning from the 1th century and the middle of 2th century CE, certain social conditions in China favoured the rise of Buddhism include: (1) Anomie. China was passing through a period of cultural unrest, as the Hàn dynasty declined. Traditional moral and social structures were weakened. Many people were looking for some satisfactory way of life that would provide some meaning and significance in human existence. (2) Adaptability. Buddhism met just the needs of the people because, unlike Brahmanism and other Indian religions at that time, it is not rooted in local cults. It was more socially adaptable. (3) Mission. The Buddhist monks belong to a missionary tradition: Buddhism is India’s (perhaps the world’s) first missionary religion. (4) Indigenization. The Buddhist monks adapted themselves to the local conditions. It was mainly Mah?y?na Buddhism that grew China. With its emphasis on the Bodhisattva ideal, used various skilful means (eg adjustment of Vinaya rules) to spread Buddhism and gain local support. 2 See Kitagawa 1980. 3 According to the Wèi sh? !(?History of the Wei Period?), ch 114, a Chinese court scholar was instructed in a Buddhist scripture by an envoy from Yuèzh? . According to the Hòuhàn sh?
(?History of the Later Han Period), ch 72, three Buddhist terms, ?Buddha,? up?saka (Buddhist lay-followers), and ?rama?a (monk), were found in an official document in 65 CE. 4 Linda Brown Holt 1995:1. 5 Nakamura 1964:226.
5 When Buddhism began entering China shortly before the Common Era, she was an ancient and well-established culture with her own indigenous philosophy and religion. As such, Buddhism faced these special conditions following its introduction into China: (1) Daoism was China’s own popular religion, but it did not have the rational and philosophical depth that gave Buddhism greater prestige. (2) Confucianism emphasized family values, obedience to authority and social stability. Confucian scholars constituted the most influential sector of society. They generally disapproved of barbarian religions. (3) Antecedents. Confucianism and Taoism had long provided the Chinese people with a vocabulary and philosophy of something beyond the daily grind. The cultural and intellectual bedrock helped Buddhism tremendously to express itself by means of contextualization. (4) The discipline and standard of moral virtue of Buddhism, as exemplified in the early Buddhist missionaries inspired the thinking Chinese. But, on a general level, the ancient Chinese were attracted to what they perceived as the magical powers of these missionaries. Around 150 CE, translators such as ?n Shìg?o
(?-170)6 began to produce Chinese translations of Buddhist texts. Most of his translations were of the H?nay?na, “inferior vehicle” (a Mah?y?na term for the early Indian scripture and system), and as such served more as a curiosity and diversion for the leisurely elite, but had no impact whatsoever on the common people, who were mostly illiterate, anyway. Almost all of the Buddhist texts translated into Chinese were philosophical (eg the Wisdom texts), legalistic (the Vinayas) or mythical (the Lotus Sutra), and with the sidelining of early Buddhist teachings and meditation—and with the dominant influence of indigenous philosophies and beliefs—the Buddhism that grew on Chinese soil and filled the Chinese mind was effectively a Chinese religion. 6 ?n Shìg?o was a prince of Parthia (ancient Iran) who renounced his claim to the throne to become a missionary monk. In 148, he arrived in China at the Luòyáng (), the Hàn capital, where he set up a centre for translating Buddhist texts. He translated 35 texts, mostly from the early Pali texts. ?n Shìg?o is the first Buddhist missionary to China to be named in Chinese sources. Another Parthian monk named ?n Xuán
is said to have joined ?n Shìg?o at Luòyáng around 181 CE.
6 II. The magic of Chinese Buddhism 2.1. Translating Buddhism into Chinese: some issues Translating Buddhism into Chinese: some issues. Human languages can be broadly divided between those that are alphabet-based (such as the Indic languages and English) and the glyph-based (such as Chinese and the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics). While the alphabet-based languages facilitate abstract thought, a glyphic language tends to work in mostly concrete or palpable terms by way of mono-syllabic pictographs (“thing” words) and ideographs (“idea” words).7 Understandably, the early translators had to overcome great odds to render the Indic Buddhist texts (mostly Sanskrit) into Chinese. In the earliest centuries of the Buddhist presence in China, the problem was especially acute when the Indic-speaking missionaries knew little or no Chinese, and the local Buddhist translators knew little or no Indic language. Even when both sides had mastered the language of the other, these two problems remained, namely: (1) The two languages come from completely different language stocks. Sanskrit, Pali and other Indic languages belong to the Indo-Aryan family, while the Chinese language is from the Sino-Tibetan family. The Indic languages are alphabetic while Chinese is monosyllabic. (2) There is a vast difference between Chinese and Indian cultures and philosophies. Not only did translators discover it was nearly impossible to find synonyms or near-synonyms, or equivalent concepts for the scriptures in the Chinese language, but they also found a very basic difference between the ways of thinking and of expressing thoughts in the two languages. Even before Kumarajiva came to China, Dào’?n (312-385) had introduced the concept of “the five losses and three difficulties” in translating Indic texts into Chinese. The great translator, Xuánzàng (602?-664), pointed out the “five kinds of untranslatable words”. Dào’?n’s theory of the “five losses and three difficuties” referred to five points in which the meaning of the original was lost through translation and to three things that were not easy to accomplish in translating. The five losses are as follows: (1) The word order in the Indic originals had to be reversed to conform to Chinese grammar. For example, in Chinese the first of the Three Refuges is zì gu? y? fó (“I take refuge in the Buddha”), whereas in the Indic original it is expressed in the reverse word order as Buddham saranam gacchami (“To the Buddha for refuge I go. “) 7 On written Chinese, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Written_Chinese.
7 (2) The Indians preferred simple, unadorned writing, whereas the Chinese were fond of ornate, polished writing. When the translator gave priority to literary style to please the Chinese audience, the simplicity and accuracy of the original were lost. For example, when Zh?qi?n of the Wu dynasty (222-280) attempted to translate the Dharmapada in ornate Chinese style, the Indian monk, Wéiqínán (or Zhànghài ; Skt: Vighna)––who had brought the original from India––cautioned him against shrouding the Buddha’s words in beautiful prose. (3) The Indic texts had many repetitive passages. To emphasize a point, they repeated a sentence or sentences several times, or in the case of the Nikaya texts, repetitions were a mark of the oral tradition. This textual style did not appeal to the Chinese, who deleted all repetitions when translating into Chinese. (4) The Indic texts often contained nested sentences (a sentence within a sentence). For example, it was not unusual to find a long explanatory passage of over a thousand characters introduced in the middle of a sentence so that it is difficult to trace the original point. These interpolations were generally deleted in the Chinese translations. As such, the complex meanings of the India originals were lost. (5) In Indic writing even after a point had been fully explained, the explanation was often repeated in a subsequent passage as stock passages. These repetitions were all deleted in the Chinese translations. And the three difficulties pointed out by Dào’?n are as follows: (1) The graceful and highly inflected ancient Sanskrit, for example, had to be translated into plain, clear Chinese. (2) Although Sanskrit sentences expressed very subtle nuances, in keeping with Indian thought of the Buddha’s time, the Chinese translations had to be palpable and clear to Chinese readers. (3) Although the 500 Arhats led by Maha Kasyapa had scrupulously compiled the texts by reconfirming the accuracy of each phrase, errors occurred in the course of their transmission. As such, the third difficulty actually referred to editorial skills and profound understanding of the Buddha Word that translators must have. The translation of Buddhist texts from Sanskrit and other Indic and Central Asian languages into Chinese constitutes a large area of study. Although written largely in classical Chinese in the context of a premodern civilization in which relatively few people could read, Buddhist s?tras were known far and wide in China. The seemingly magical spell (Sanskrit: dh?ra??) from the Heart S?tra was known by many; stories from the Lotus S?tra were painted on the walls of popular temples; religious preachers, popular storytellers, and low-class dramatists alike drew on the rich trove of mythology provided by Buddhist narrative. Scholars of Buddhism
8 have tended to focus on the chronology and accuracy of translation. Since so many texts were translated (one eighth-century count of the extant number of canonical works is 1,124)8, and the languages of Sanskrit and literary Chinese are so distant, the results of that study are foundational to the field. To understand the history of Chinese Buddhism it is indispensable to know what texts were available when, how they were translated and by whom, how they were inscribed on paper and stone, approved or not approved, disseminated, and argued about. On the other hand, within Buddhist studies scholars have only recently begun to view the act of translation as a conflict-ridden process of negotiation, the results of which were Chinese texts whose meanings were never closed. Older studies, for instance, sometimes distinguish between three different translation styles. One emerged with the earliest known translators, a Parthian given the Chinese name An Shigao (fl. 148–170) and an Indoscythian named Lokak?ema (fl. 167–186), who themselves knew little classical Chinese but who worked with teams of Chinese assistants who peppered the resulting translations with words drawn from the spoken language. The second style was defined by the Kuchean translator Kum?raj?va (350–409), who retained some elements of the vernacular in a basic framework of literary Chinese that was more polished, consistent, and acceptable to contemporary Chinese tastes. It is that style — which some have dubbed a “church” language of Buddhist Chinese, by analogy with the cultural history of medieval Latin—that proved most enduring and popular. The third style is exemplified in the work of Xuanzang (ca. 596–664), the seventh-century Chinese monk, philosopher, pilgrim, and translator. Xuanzang was one of the few translators who not only spoke Chinese and knew Sanskrit, but also knew the Chinese literary language well, and it is hardly accidental that Chinese Buddhists and modern scholars alike regard his translations as the most accurate and technically precise. At the same time, there is an irony in Xuanzang’s situation that forces us to view the process of translation in a wider context. Xuanzang’s is probably the most popular Buddhist image in Chinese folklore: he is the hero of the story Journey to the West (Xiyou ji), known to all classes as the most prolific translator in Chinese history and as an indefatigable, sometimes overly serious and literal, pilgrim who embarked on a sacred mission to recover original texts from India. Though the mythological character is well known, the surviving writings of the seventh-century translator are not. They are, in fact, rarely read, because their grammar and style smack more of Sanskrit than of literary Chinese. What mattered 8 Kaiyuan shijiao lu, Zhisheng (669–740), T 2154, 55:572b.
9 to Chinese audiences—both the larger audience for the novels and dramas about the pilgrim and the much smaller one capable of reading his translations—was that the Chinese texts were based on a valid foreign original, made even more authentic by Xuanzang’s personal experiences in the Buddhist homeland. 2.2. Buddhism understanding The projection of categories derived from European, American, and modern Japanese religious experience onto the quite different world of traditional Chinese religion is perhaps most apparent in the tendency of traditional scholarship to treat Chinese Buddhism primarily as a matter of distinct schools or sects. Monks and other literati did indeed make sense of their history by classifying the overwhelming number of texts and teachings they inherited under distinctive trends, and some members of the Buddhist elite claimed allegiance to certain ideals at the expense of others. But any clear-cut criterion of belief, like the Nicene Creed, or a declaration of faith like Martin Luther’s, is lacking in the history of Chinese Buddhism. It may have been only in the fourteenth century that there developed any social reality even approximating Ernst Troeltsch’s definition of a sect as a voluntary religious association that people consciously choose to join and that excludes participation in other religious activities—and even then, the type of sect that developed, the Teaching of the White Lotus (Bailian jiao), was only tenuously connected to the “schools” of Chinese Buddhist thought on which scholars usually focus. Trends of thought and clearly identified philosophical issues are part of Chinese Buddhist history from the early centuries, and in the sixth through eighth centuries some figures identified themselves as concerned with one particular scripture: authors in the Tiantai school (named after Mount Tiantai) focused on the Lotus S?tra, and figures of the Huayan school emphasized the comprehensive nature of the Huayan (“Flower Garland”) S?tra. But the founders of these schools— identified as such only by later generations—and their followers never stopped reading broadly in a wide range of Buddhist texts. Certain emphases also developed in Chinese Buddhist practice and Buddhology, foremost among them the invocation of the name of Amit?yus Buddha (nianfo, “keeping the Buddha in mind”), whose powers to assist those who chanted his name and whose resplendent paradise are described at length in scriptures affiliated with the Pure Land (Jingtu) school. In China, however—in contrast to late medieval Japan—dedication to Amit?yus Buddha was rarely viewed as a substitute for other forms of practice. Esoteric forms of Buddhism, characterized by restricting the circulation of knowledge about rituals to a small circle of initiates who perform rituals for those who lack the expertise, were also a strong force in Chinese Buddhism. But here too, even as they performed rites on behalf of individuals or to benefit the
10 state, the monks of the Zhenyan (Sanskrit: Mantra, “True Word”) school participated in other forms of Buddhist thought and practice as well. Even the school of Chan (“Meditation”), known in Japanese as Zen, which claimed to be founded on an unbroken transmission from ??kyamuni through twenty-eight Indian disciples to the first Chinese disciple in the late fifth century, was far less exclusive than its rhetoric seems to allow. Claims about transmission, the naming of founders, and the identification of crucial figures in the drama of Chan history were always executed retroactively. The tradition, which claimed its own content to be a non-content, was not so much handed down from past to present as it was imagined in the present, a willful projection into the future, against the reality of a heterogeneous past. As a “school” in the sense of an establishment for teaching and learning with monastery buildings, daily schedule, and administrative structure, Chan came into existence only in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and even then the social institution identified as “Chan” was nearly identical to institutions affiliated with other schools. At any rate, English translations of primary sources about Chan and other schools of Chinese Buddhism are readily available elsewhere. The selections in this volume do not ignore sectarian history, but tend to concentrate on practices and ideas shared by larger and less exclusive segments of the Chinese Buddhist community and on schools less well represented in other anthologies. 2.3. Evaluation Buddhism was the first foreign religion to be successfully accepted, or rather, assimilated, into Chinese society. The main contenders against Buddhism were the indigenous systems of Daoism and Confucianism, who charged that Buddhism was a foreign religion, as therefore detrimental to Chinese culture. The status-conscious Confucianists, especially those serving the powers that be, were especially concerned that Buddhism might undermine their position of influence and affluence. The common charge was that Buddhism did not practise filial piety, and that renunciation (abandoning the home life) was an unfilial act, as the renunciant was deemed as being ungrateful to parents benevolence. The early Chinese Buddhists were adept and innovative in their response to such challenges and criticisms. As regards filial piety, they declared that to become a monastic was the best way that a child could show his gratitude to his or her parents, promising heavenly rebirth and other blessings. The early Chinese Buddhists went further, and created a powerful and enduring myth of Mùlián to celebrate or inculcate filial piety amongst their followers. In doing so, the Chinese had effectively invented a new religion, totally foreign to its Indian roots, by putting pretas into the hells, claiming the annual respite of hell-beings, and the idea of an enduring soul. The Chinese Buddhists, too, were aware of the gender discrimination of women by the
11 patriarchal Confucianists. Here the Chinese psyche invoked the powers of compassion through Avalokite- ?vara, who manifested himself in a uniquely androgynous form, expressing the most universal form of unconditional love and salvation known in religious history. These prayer methods evolved over time in response to the common and immediate psychological and religious needs of the masses. Such innovative responses kept Buddhism popular and relevant to the times. The hermeneutics of the deeper Buddhist doctrines remain in the minds and mouths of the scholars and specialists, amongst those who have the time and surplus income for them. All ancient societies had problems dealing with the dead, mainly through ignorance and superstition regarding death and the afterlife, especially in terms of ritual and religious pollution. The Buddhist teach- ings have profound answers and instructions regarding such matters, and as such were highly effective in introducing innovative ideas and practices regarding the dead and afterlife. The most successful of Chin- ese Buddhist innovation in this connection was the Ullambana teachings. Buddhism as religiosity—the appeal to external powers, perceived as superhuman or suprahuman, in solving or resolving personal problems—is often a mirror of its believers and devotees, changing and adapting to their needs and moods. The well-entrenched indigenous Daoist magic and religion, and Con fucian social ethics had a profound influence on Chinese Buddhism, which unable to appreciate or to apprehend the early Buddhist teachings, rich in its mental training, could only go with the flow of popular and powerful notions. The cost was to lose touch with Buddhist spirituality, that is, the inner evolution beyond greed, hate and delusion by seeing into true reality beyond the physical body, beyond rituals, and beyond doubt. Chinese Buddhism up to our times has been essentially characterized by pragmatic materialism.
12 III. Modern Chinese Buddhism When the Communists took control of the mainland in 1949, monks and nuns were treated as social parasites. The new regime confiscated Buddhist properties in 1951, depriving monastics ofthe livelihood they had previously earned by providing services for the lay community. Young monastics were returned to lay status. Older ones were put to work farming, weaving, running vegetarian restaurants, or teaching school. Ordination was discouraged, and the Sangha became an institution of the aged. In 1953 the government established a Chinese Buddhist Association to impose direct control over Buddhist institutions and their contacts with international Buddhist organizations. Famous and beautiful old temples were main tained at government expense, Buddhist art works were safeguarded, and sites such as the Yiin-kang caves were designated national treasures. However, the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) signaled an abrupt and destructive change in policy. Rampaging Red Guards targeted Buddhist sites as remnants ofthe feudalistic past that stood in the way of their new order. Many monks and nuns fled China for Hong Kong and Taiwan. Currently, however, the government is gradually easing its policies of gious repression. A turning point occurred in 1989, when a Buddhist delegation from Taiwan undertook a tour ofBuddhist sites with the official sanction of the Communist regime. Temples and shrines ransacked during the Cultural Revolution are being rebuilt, often with the help of outside sources in Taiwan, Hong Kong, North America, and Japan. Defrocked nuns and monks, no longer routinely denounced as “parasites”, are being allowed to resume monastic lives. The motivations here are both spiritual and economic. Those who persisted in their Buddhist faith despite official denunciations an increasing sense ofindividual freedom. Government bureaucrats, howevei have an eye on the lucrative tourist trade. The island of Taiwan was not occupied by the Communists after the revolution, and so it experienced no abrupt severing of Buddhist or other Chinese traditions. The old guard of the Nationalist party, although primarily Christian, portrayed itself as the caretaker of China’s cultural heritage, using Confucian propaganda to maintain solid popular support for its policy of constant preparedness for war. Buddhism was treated as largely irrelevant to the needs of the times. Now, however, a number of factors the changing of the guard, the relaxing of military policy, and the fast growing economy have contributed to a modest Buddhist revival. The growth ofthe economy in particular has provided a surplus of funds that can be devoted to religious projects, while at the same time leading to a sense of spiritual alienation from the increasingly materialistic society. This sense of alienation has led many to search for the solace offered by a variety oflay and monastic Buddhist organizations. Buddhism has proven to be particularly attractive to women in Taiwan, who have been
13 swelling the ranks of the Sangha to an unprecedented degree. In a society that does not espouse equality ofthe sexes as an ideal, much less a reality, the life of a nun offers an autonomy otherwise unavailable to women. Buddhist groups also attract many lay women who view Buddhism as a spiritual refuge and enthusiastically devote their services to its advancement. Chinese communities scattered throughout Southeast Asia are also experiencing a Buddhist revival. Greater access to books, both in Chinese and English, has disseminated knowledge not only ofpreviously obscure aspects of Chinese Buddhism, but also of non-Chinese Buddhist traditions. As a result, lay organizations devoted to Theravadin or Tibetan practice have sprung up in Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong, as well as Taiwan, and Chinese natives ofthese countries have ordained in Theravadin and Tibetan orders. Whether these developments will spread back to the mainland depends on political and cultural developments that are difficult to foretell. But at least the seeds are there, and, unlike the aftermath of the persecution of 845, Chinese Buddhism may very well recover from the Cultural Revolution with greater, not less, vitality and range.9 9 The Buddhist religion historical introduction, Robinson 1996
14 Conclusion What did Buddhism contribute to Chinese thought? Neo-Confucians in the Song era denied that they owed any debt to Buddhists, but their denial only underscored their indebtedness. The friendships some of them had with Chan monks tell us that, public polemics against Buddhism notwithstanding, personal exchanges continued. Buddhist terminology appears here and there in their writings, but it is often given a reading that is as much nonclassical as non-Buddhist. In fact, the intercultural dialogue had a hybrid nature. Drawing a line between what is Buddhist and what is Confucian is not easy. Chinese Buddhism is the product of the meeting of the cultures of India and China. The interrelation of these two great cultures constitutes one of the most fascinating chapters in the histolY of mankind. Without the untiring efforts of so many Buddhist believers in India, Central Asia, and China, it would not have been possible to bring the word of the Buddha to China, to translate it into Chinese, and to spread it by writing and printing. We are deeply conscious of our debt to these men who were prompted by no other motive than the desire to spread the doctrine of the Buddha.
15 Bibliograhy 1. Araki Kengo, ? Confucianism and Buddhism in the Late Ming; 2. Chen, Kenneth, ?Buddhism in China. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1964; 3. C. K. Yang, ? Religion in Chinese Society, 1967; 4. Donald S. Lopez, ? Religions of China in Practice, 1996; 5. Gregory Schopen, ?The Mah?y?na and the Middle Period in Indian Buddhism: Through a Chinese Looking – Glass; 6. Holmes Welch, ? The Practice o f Chinese Buddhism, 1950; 7. Kow Mei Kao, ? Chinese Religions: Evolution, Compatibility and Adaptability – A historical perspective; 8. Liu Ts’un-yan, ? Buddhist and Taoist Influences On Chinese Fiction, E.J. Brill, Leiden, Holland; 9. Piya Tan, ? Chinese challenges to Buddhism, 2008; 10. Richard H. Robinson, ? The Buddhist Religion A historical introduction, 4 edition, university of Wisconsin, 1996; 11. R. Eno, ? Buddhism ; Buddhism in China, ? Indiana university, 2008 12. S.Beal, ? Buddhism in China, 2009; 13. Whalen Lai, ? Buddhism in China: a historical survey;