BUDDISM AND THE CHINESE SOCIETY
Buddism reached CHINA in about 3rd century BC in the SIKIYAG province . MING-TI (58-76 AD) , an Emperor of the HAN DYNASTY , was considered as propagator of BUDDHISM in CHINA . The CHINESE tradition says that the Emperor MING-TI saw in his dream ‘ a golden figure flying down from heaven and hovering over the royal palace .’ It happened in about 60 AD . He was so frightened that he called his spiritual priest to know about the secret of this mystery . And he was told that it was the shining of the LORD BUDDHA of INDIA . Then he sent a deputation to INDIA to get information about LORD BUDDHA . Knowing about the facts , he sent an ambassador to INDIA to bring about BUDDHIST MONKS and Books on BUDDHISM in CHINA . With his efforts , two BUDDHIST MONKS from INDIA : 1.KASHYAP MATANG and 2. DHARM RATTAN reached CHINA with all the Manuscripts on BUDDHISM by now . These two MONKS riding on white horses when reached LI-YANG , the capital, MING-TI , the then Emperor of CHINA welcomed these two BUDDHIST MONKS ( BAUDH BHIKHU ) and ordered for construction of PE-NA-SE ( WHITE HORSE VIHAR ) in 67 AD for them . KASHYAP MATANG was from the modern day UP province of INDIA . He was a great scholar of HINYANA BUDDHISM . Similarly DHARM RATTAN was from somewhere of MP in INDIA . An other BUDDHIST SCHOLER DHARMRAKSHAK visited CHINA in 294 AD . He was a scholar of 36 languages and was from middle of ASIA and was a SHAKA by origin . He was a scholar par excellence . While KASHYAP MATANG and DHARM RATTAN had gone to the SOUTH INDIA to propagate BUDDHISM there and had translated many BUDDHIST books before they could reach CHINA . They were the earliest visitors , DHARMRAKSHAK visited CHINA about 500 hundred years later . But he had much interest in promoting INDIAN cultures in CHINA . He remained there for 29 years and he translated 211 INDIAN books into the CHINESE language . Later KUMARJIVI reached CHINA in 385 AD and stayed there for more than 16 years preaching BUDDHISM and writing books on that . One should know that why BUDDHISM reached CHINA so late . It was because CONFUCIUS had opposed BUDDHISM as a foreign and unfilial religion . Similarly , the TAOIST Emperor of the TANG DYNASTY declared that ‘ no teaching is more harmful than BUDDHISM ‘. More than supposedly four thousand Monestries , about forty thousand Temples were confiscated and about two lakh sixty thousand MONKS and NUN were ordered to return to their family lives and pay taxes as per general public . Despite this persecution, BUDDHISM had got a cozy place in the minds of the CHINESE people since then and later during the period of the Emperor MING-TI it spread in the CHINESE society on a large scale .
Now the INDIAN BUDDHIST MONKS both — HINYANA and MAHAYANA had started visiting CHINA . Since it had a highly developed philosophy , it attracted men of keenest intellect and the highest social standing as such . The Wei Shih School had influence of CONFUCIUS , the CHAN , a sect teaching meditation , had influence of TAOISM , on the other hand the ‘ PURE LAND ‘ sect had influence of MAHAYANA BUDDHISM . It spread right across CHINA . AMITABHA BUDDHA was presented as the ‘Merciful Father of Ten Heavenly Regions’ . And faith only in AMITABHA BUDDHA was now considered as getting entrance into the WESTERN PARADISE . Salvation could be assured by full devotion to the AMITABHA BUDDHA . A writer has written that ‘Whoever recites the name of AMITABHA BUDDHA , whether in the present time or in the future time , will surely see AMITABHA BUDDHA and never become separated from him . He will become enlightened without resort to any other expedient means’. And the MAHAYANA sect of BUDDHISM pray , ‘ I flee to thee AMITABHA , Glory be to AMITABHA ‘ about thousands of time daily . And sacred enchantmen is called the Lord’s Prayer of MAHAYANA BUDDHISTS . Side by side with AMITABHA stood KWANYIN , the Goddess of Mercy and the women in CHINA believed Her as ‘ the Virgine who gives offspring ‘ .
There are many other BUDDHIST PANTHEON prevailing in the CHINESE society . SAKYAMUNI , for example , sit on a lotus vase with his eyes half-closed in Meditation . In YOGIC sciences it is called SHAMBHAVI MUDRA . Sometimes He , while sleeping in his side , called He had attained NIRVANA ( salvation/liberation ) . And Sometimes He appeared as a little child. But the most popular of LORD BUDDHA’S figure is MAITREYA , the BUDDHA to come with the future gifts of fortune . Apart from that many other versions of BUDDHA appears in the CHINESE society : some are of the Indian versions of BRAHMA and INDRA and others are local deities including that of CONFUCIUS . Thus , we can say that the MAHAYANA BUDDISM has turned far away from the teaching of HINYANA BUDDHISM . But most of the BUDDHIST MONKS believes in the worship of AMITABHA and other divinities as uniting all the BUDDHA’S figures and sitting on the road of perfection .
NOTE : THE SOURCES OF THE BLOG ARE TEXT BOOKS AND OTHER WRITTEN MATERIALS ON THE SUBJECT .
TO BE CONTINUED ………………..