Buddhism in China and Japan
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This paper argues that the impact of Buddhism upon China was influenced by the fact that China was already an old civilization when Buddhism arrived, and that as a result Buddhism was forced to compete with existing religious/philosophical systems. The paper contrasts this to Japan where Buddhism had little local competition and quickly became a state religion. The paper therefore explains that Buddhism in China had to adapt to the competing belief systems in order to find converts, while in Japan, Buddhism was more influenced by the violent and militaristic Japanese society. The paper includes a draft of this essay.
From the Paper:"Buddhism in China became particularly popular among the "literati" of the aristocracy. As a result, there was a tendency toward "abstruse philosophical discussion" in the teaching of Buddhism. Moreover, Chinese tended to perceive Buddhism in terms they had become accustomed to by their own belief systems. For example, the Chinese adopted the Buddha as a demigod, mingling him with elements of the Yellow Emperor-Lao Tzu cult. As a result, such prominent features of Buddhism as meditation were totally transformed. Instead of meditation being defined in the Indian sense of concentration, it was viewed by Chinese Buddhists in the Taoist sense of conserving vital energies, breathing, and reducing desire.
"Given how radically Buddhism was transformed upon its introduction to China, one might expect a similar process of revision when Buddhism arrived in Japan. However, the translation of Buddhism did not result in such a radical revisioning largely because Buddhism was adopted as part of a "cultural revolution" during the sixth and seventh centuries C.E.. The Japanese government of the time promoted what amounted to a cultural transfusion from mainland China, with the Japanese adopting Chinese science, technology, writing, clothing, and customs. In much the same way as the Internet Explorer browser is "bundled" with the Microsoft operating system, Windows, Buddhism simply arrived as part of the larger Chinese cultural operating system."
Cite this Comparison Essay:
Buddhism in China and Japan (2003, October 25) Retrieved December 21, 2014, from http://www.academon.com/comparison-essay/buddhism-in-china-and-japan-41620/
"Buddhism in China and Japan" 25 October 2003. Web. 21 December. 2014. <http://www.academon.com/comparison-essay/buddhism-in-china-and-japan-41620/>