Buddhism in Chinese History by Arthur F. Wright

By Arthur F. Wright

One of many nice topics within the background of jap Asia is the transformation of chinese language tradition through Buddhism. This technique may be traced throughout approximately millennia and will be obvious at paintings in nearly each element of chinese language lifestyles and inspiration. This research used to be undertaken with the article of unveiling how Buddhism has encouraged chinese language tradition, and within the desire that it could possibly offer a few perception into the function of the faith as a service of parts from one nice civilization into one other. It additionally bargains with the attention-grabbing query of the character of Buddhism as a global faith, and of the ways that it resembles or differs from the opposite nice faiths.

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29. O n Liu L in g and bil contemporaries, ice Donald Holeman, L a Via tt la ptnsie da H i K ’a a f (Leiden, 1957) and “Lee Sept Sager de la F o rft det Bamboua c t la aocieti de leur tempi,” Foung-pao, XLIV (1956), 317-46. T he Period of Preparation 31 t'an—was no longer a speculative instrument but a play­ thing of vacuous and cynical aristocrats who watched idly as China slid further into chaos. A rthur Waley has charac­ terized one of these men, the prime minister under whose regime all of N orth China was finally lost to the barbarians: He belonged to one of the most distinguished families in China .

Against these powerful groups were ranged the literate provincial gentry who had claimed and rationalized their access to public office in the early days of the Han. As they were successively deprived of power by the contending groups at the capital, they sought collectively to check and repair the decline in their fortunes. As they agitated cease­ lessly for reform, their denunciations of their rivals, their prophecies of doom, their outcries against an extravagant and iniquitous government, echoed in the capital and in the provinces.

It was in this cultural milieu that a characteristic southern Bud­ dhism developed in the period of disunion. This Buddhism was initially molded—in its concepts, its centers of speculative interest, its vocabulary—by neo­ Taoism. Much of the discussion of Buddhist ideas was car­ ried on in neo-Taoism’s favored mode: the dialogue or colloquy known as ch'ing-i'an. As we have seen, the philo­ sophic vitality of neo-Taoism was already a thing of the past, via

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