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Chinese Buddhism

1. History and Establishment of Chinese Buddhism: – Buddhism entered China during the Han dynasty through the Silk Road. – Tang dynasty’s support helped spread […]

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1. History and Establishment of Chinese Buddhism:
– Buddhism entered China during the Han dynasty through the Silk Road.
– Tang dynasty’s support helped spread Buddhism across China.
– Translation of Indian Buddhist scriptures into Chinese was crucial.
– Buddhist missionaries used Silk Road and maritime routes.
– Initial confusion between Buddhism and Taoism.
– Translation of Buddhist texts was a central task.
– Arrival of Kumārajīva and his impact on Chinese Buddhism.
– Criticism of Buddhism by Confucian elites.

2. Development and Flowering of Chinese Buddhism:
– Tiantai, Huayan, Pure Land, and Chan Buddhism emerged.
– Xuanzang’s journey to India enriched Chinese Buddhism.
– Tang dynasty was a golden age for Chinese Buddhism.
– Sinicized Buddhism was widely accepted and practiced.
– Empress Wu Zetian promoted Chinese Buddhism during the Tang era.
– Tiantai school founded by master Zhiyi.
– Huayan school based on Avatamsaka Sutra.
– Pure Land tradition venerated Amitabha.
– Chan Buddhism teachings by various masters.

3. Challenges, Decline, and Revivals in Chinese Buddhism:
– Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution under Emperor Wuzong of Tang.
– Impact of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period.
– Political upheaval negatively affected Chinese Buddhism.
– Various Chinese Buddhist traditions contracted or died out.
– Esoteric Buddhism’s influence among the elites during Tang dynasty.
– Revivals of Chinese Chan and Tiantai Buddhism during the Republican period.
– Reformers like Hsu Yun and Sheng Yen contributed to modernization.

4. Doctrine, Texts, and Practices in Chinese Buddhism:
– Chinese Buddhism is a sinicized form of Mahāyāna Buddhism.
– Main scriptures include the Lotus Sutra and the Amitābha Sutra.
– Upholds doctrines like karma, rebirth, bodhisattva path, and emptiness.
– Important doctrinal traditions include Tiantai, Huayan, Sanlun, and Weishi schools.
– Various religious practices, rituals, meditation, and observances.
– Vegetarianism widely promoted and practiced.
– Laypeople’s roles and practices in Chinese Buddhism.

5. Deities, Monasticism, Rituals, and Beliefs in Chinese Buddhism:
– Veneration of various Mahāyāna Buddhist deities.
– Chinese Buddhist monastics follow the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya.
– Different types of monasteries in Chinese Buddhist history.
– Vegetarianism and vegetarian practices.
– Rituals and practices like worship services, ethical rules, meditation, and textual practices.
– Death rituals, beliefs, and pilgrimage traditions.
– Laypeople’s engagement in Chinese Buddhism.
– Syncretism, multiple religious belonging, and influence of other religious traditions.

Chinese Buddhism (Wikipedia)

Chinese Buddhism or Han Buddhism (simplified Chinese: 汉传佛教; traditional Chinese: 漢傳佛教; pinyin: Hànchuán Fójiào; Jyutping: Hon3 Cyun4 Fat6 Gaau3; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Hàn-thoân Hu̍t-kàu) is a Chinese form of Mahayana Buddhism which draws on the Chinese Buddhist canon as well as numerous Chinese traditions. Chinese Buddhism focuses on studying Mahayana sutras and Mahāyāna treatises and draws its main doctrines from these sources. Some of the most important scriptures in Chinese Buddhism include: Lotus Sutra, Flower Ornament Sutra, Vimalakirtī Sutra, Nirvana Sutra, and Amitābha Sutra. Chinese Buddhism is the largest institutionalized religion in mainland China. Currently, there are an estimated 185 to 250 million Chinese Buddhists in the People's Republic of China. It is also a major religion in Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia, as well as among the Chinese Diaspora.

Institutions of Chinese Buddhism
Buddhist monks at Jintai Temple in Zhuhai, Guangdong
A Buddhist house assembly
Chinese Buddhism
Traditional Chinese漢傳佛教

Buddhism was first introduced to China during the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE). It was promoted by multiple emperors, especially during the Tang dynasty (618–907), which helped it spread across the country. The translation of a large body of Indian Buddhist scriptures into Chinese and the inclusion of these translations (along with Taoist and Confucian works) into a Chinese Buddhist canon had far-reaching implications for the dissemination of Buddhism throughout the East Asian cultural sphere, including Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. Chinese Buddhism also developed various unique traditions of Buddhist thought and practice, including Tiantai, Huayan, Chan Buddhism, and Pure Land Buddhism.

From its inception, Chinese Buddhism has been influenced by native Chinese religions and philosophy, especially Confucianism and Taoism, but also Chinese folk religion.

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