chapter  6
14 Pages

Buddhism in Traditional China

WithXue Yu

Chinese Buddhism inherited the idea of religious pilgrimage that existed in Indian Buddhism and popularized its practice through consecration of mountains in China. The relation between institutional Buddhism and political authority in China was quite different from that in ancient India, where religion exerted tremendous influence over political affairs as traditionally kings should pay due respect to religious ascetics. One of controversial disputes occurred between Buddhism and Confucian culture was the Buddhist tradition of worldly renunciation, celibacy, and mendicancy. A debate once occurred in modern China whether Buddhism is religion or philosophy. Meditation is major religious practice in Buddhism, which highlights the importance of mental training. Buddhism, full of cultural creativity, spiritual energy, and philosophical dynamism never stopped exerting its influence on ancient Chinese culture while voluntarily undertaking the process of Sinicization once it entered China, and thus joined with Confucianism and Daoism to produce Chinese culture after the Tang dynasty.