Comparing Buddhism in China and Indiaby Rit Nosotro
Describe the development of Buddhism in China and India. Discuss the how the different social and political structures enhanced or diminished the growth.
Buddhism originally started in India by a spoiled prince and his following monks. When the prince was born his father’s wise men predicted that he would become a great king if he stayed in the palace, but if he left it, he would become a savior. The King wanted his prince to become a king, not a savior, so he kept his son, Prince Siddhartha, spoiled and locked up in the palace until his late 20s. One day the prince decided he wanted to see outside of the palace gates, and requested to walk around the town. Being as spoiled as he was, and his father incapable of refusing him, the prince was given permission.
While the prince walked about the city he met, for the first time, old people, poor people, starving people, and even dying people. He was of course horrified, and made the decision to leave the palace in search of “enlightenment”. According to the old Buddhist stories, Prince Siddhartha sat under a tree in the country for seven days while searching for enlightenment. After he woke up, he told all his following monks about how he was “enlightened” and told them about “The Four Noble Truths” and “The Eight Fold Path”. His followers were ecstatic with the newly founded religion, and proselitized throughout much of India, but particularly the NE corner. In addition to being “enlightened’ Prince Siddhartha changed his name to Buddha.
At the same time, the Indians were growing weary of Hinduism, so as a result, when many heard of Buddhism, they readily joined to also gain “enlightenment”. For them, it was a relatively safe religion to convert to because Buddhism does not require a set God or traditions. However, Buddhist shrines were built which Islam was delighted to destroy as it rolled into India centuries later. Buddhism has been particularly attractive to the lower castes of Hinduism who are born into a system of economic disadvantage. Following the conversion of a Dalit (untoucable caste) leader in 1956 to Buddhism led hundreds of thousands away Hinduism. In November of 2001 an enormous rally was held wherein thousands of Dalits chose Christianity over Buddhism.
Nearly a millinium after Buddha died, the Chinese were set to recieve the peace-loving Buddhists with their monks and artifacts from India. Buddhism was adapted by the Chinese to suit their old traditions of Taoism and Confucism.
Some main differences between Buddhism in China and India are that the Chinese believe everyone has a soul, while the Indians don’t believe in souls. Another stark difference is that the Chinese worship the dead and images of their loved ones, while the Indians are disgusted with the dead. Any other differences are personal to the individual person believing in Buddhism. According to Buddhism, there are no “wrong” religions, because eventually they all lead to “enlightenment”, so a person can be of any religion can also be a Buddhist. Therefore there are no “rules” as to what god to worship, or what to do to actually get to “enlightenment”. Both cultures do adhere to the “writings” of Buddha, but don’t worship him anymore because “he is gone”, and they only want his state of mind.
Although this is seemly a “peace-loving” religion, it does not go along with Christianity as well as many people think. First of all, Buddhists don’t believe in God, sin, Heaven, or Hell – all of which Christians firmly believe in. Second of all, they don’t believe in any one way to “enlightenment”, contrary to Christianity that believes in Jesus as the one and only way to receive salvation (John 14:6). If only Prince Siddhartha knew that back when he was sitting under the tree trying to find truth, and enlightenment.
"The Development of Buddhism in China." World History. 17 Jan. 2004. <http://www.writing.uct.ac.za/htessay/essay_china.htm>
"Buddhism in India, ancient Buddhism in India, India and Buddhism, India to china." World History. 17 Jan. 2004. <http://www.indianchild.com/buddhism_in_india.htm> (November 10, 2003)
(Book) Tim Baker. "Why So Many Gods?". Thomas Nelson publishing Inc.,
Additional information about <http://hyperhistory.net/apwh/essays/comp/cw07indiabuddhismchina.htm.htm>
The above essay was donated to hyperhistory.net.
of inaccuracies or plagiarism.
Post a link to this essay,
a great essay
on your blog or website :
|Comparative Essays||Biographies||Doc. Based Questions||Change Over Time|