Free Essay

Religious Freed Om Durin Tang Dynasty

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By eorlking
Words 1043
Pages 5
Did Han Yu’s memorial on the Bone of Buddha contributed to religious intolerance and persecution of Buddhism in the late Tang dynasty?

Chinese Buddhism reached its highest point of popularity and influence during Han Yu’s lifetime, and this matter as a Confucian greatly concerned him.
Han Yu was afraid and disappointed that the traditional Chinese value system as family ancestors worship will be lost if Buddhism’s influences will continue to thrive and gain more influence on every level in society.
He did not agree that Confucian values were excluded from Buddhist and Daoist values and to see bringing” a finger “of Buddha, (who was a foreigner to China), was blasphemy and insulting to Confucian values and traditional Chinese culture. The need for suppression of Buddhism in Han Yu’s Memorial on the Bone of Buddha was social, traditional and economical. In regards of social aspects, Prebish states that: “Confucianism promoted social stability, order, strong families, and practical living, and Chinese officials questioned how a monk's monasticism and personal attainment of nirvana benefited the empire” (1975, p.192). Han Yu railed against Buddhism for undermining the social structure of China.
For Han Yu Buddhists' withdrawal from society was necessary, since the Chinese believed that their people should be involved with family life.
Han Yu explains that “He understood neither the duties that bind sovereign and subject nor the affections of father and son” ( Bary, p. 584 ). He furthers this idea : “It eroded the loyalty of son to father, and subject to ruler”, ( Bary, p.584) by encouraging people to leave their families and to become monks and nuns. Another factor is the foreign affairs which led to the opposition of Buddhism and everything foreign. Han Yu claimed that : “Now Buddha was a man of the barbarians who did not speak the language of China and wore clothes of a different fashion. His saying did not concern the ways of our ancient kings, nor did his manner of dress conform to their laws”. (Barry, 1999, p. 584). Clearly Han Yu is talking about the Chinese tradition by mentioning the Ancient Kings and respecting them. Also Han Yu, felt that bringing Buddha’s finger as a relic into the king’s palace was a foreign influence just like Yuan Chens’ claimed in his” Iranian whirling Girls” penetrating the top level of Chinese society: the king’s palace. Yuan Chen shows the seduction which was foreign when he wrote, “At the sound of the string and drums, she raises her arms, like swirling snow flakes tossed about, she turns her twirling dance. When the tune is over, she bows twice in gratitude to the Son of Heaven, and the Son of Heaven smiles a bit of a toothsome smile for her. Iranian Whirling girl, you came from Sogdiana” (Mair, p.278, 2000).Han Yu could not predict that Iranian girls will be dancing in the emperor’s palace but in his document he feared that the foreigners will take over Chinese traditions if the Buddha’s relic is worshipped. The fear of foreign influence clearly shows when he claims:” Then will our old ways will be corrupted, our customs violated, and the tale will spread to make us mockery of the world. This is no trifling matter”. (Barry, 1999, p.584), Buddhism had flourished into a major religious force in China during the Tang period, and its monasteries enjoyed tax-exempt status. As soon as these monasteries were recognized “ they stopped engaging in useful economic activity such as agriculture and weaving, and became a burden that had to be supported by the work of others. The persecution sought to return monks and nuns to the ranks of tax-paying commoners engaged in useful economic activity”. ( Maspero , 1981, p.46). While society thrived economically and culturally, the emperor Wuzong needed finances to protect Chinese borders. Wealth, tax-exemption status and power of the Buddhist temples and monasteries also annoyed many critics. The emperor Wuzong believed Buddhism to pose a drain on the state's economy as he considered Buddhist monks and nuns to be unproductive members of society who were not contributing to the tax base. Emperor Wuzong hated the sight of Buddhist monks, since he thought were tax-evaders. In 845, he ordered the destruction of 4,600 Buddhist monasteries and 40,000 temples. About 250,000 Buddhist monks and nuns had to give up their monastery lives. Wuzong cited that Buddhism was an alien religion, which is the reason he also persecuted the Christians and Zoroastrians which he regarded as heretical forms of Buddhism. It is obvious that the emperor Wuzong persecuted any religion that did not comply with Chinese society.
In edict concerning the two religions the emperor said: “ As for the Tai-Ch’in (Syrian) and Muh-hu (Zoroastrian) forms of worship, since Buddhism has already been cast out, these heresies alone must not be allowed to survive. People belonging to these also are to be compelled to return to the world, belong again to their own districts, and become tax payers. As for foreigners, let them be returned to their own countries, there to suffer restraint” (Philip,1998, p.33).
In regards to the last sentence it is clear that emperor Wuzong only wanted tax payers which would create income for a government. He wanted all foreigners to leave which would therefore prevent changes in the traditional Chinese society.
In conclusion, foreign influences caused problems in the Tang China. Economically they drained commerce because Buddhist monks and nuns did neither work nor pay taxes. Socially, families were changing from the traditional units that cared for the elderly into individuals leaving their families stranded. As for tradition Buddhist influence raised fear due to loss of custom.
Due to these three issues Chinese Buddhism never fully recovered from the Ancient persecution and suppression helped to revive Confucian values to Neo-Confucianism which would make Han Yu pleased.

Bibliography:
Prebish, Charles. Buddhism: A Modern Perspective. Penn State Press,1975.
Philip, Thomas. V. East of the Euphrates: Early Christianity in Asia. Ocean Press, 1998. Maspero, Henri. John.Taoism and China. University of Massachusetts,1981.
Mair ,Victor.The Shorter Columbia Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature, New York: Columbia University Press,2000.
De Bary,WT.Sources of Chinese Tradition,vol1.New York:Columbia University Press,1999.…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

The Effects of Dynasties

...Three main dynasties that affected Chinese heritage, culture, economy and society were the Sui, Tang and Song dynasties. Each of these dynasties were significant into further building and creating China. Two out of three succeeded. Sui Dynasty was the second shortest dynasty, lasted only 38 years. The Tang Dynasty lasted almost 300 years and helped continue to improve China based on the results of the Sui Dynasty. The Song Dynasty followed after lasting only a few years because there was too much to do in order to fix the ruins from the downfall of the Tang Dynasty. The Sui Dynasty began in 581 and ended in 618. During the 38 years it lasted there were three different emperors who all made significant changes. After the tyrannical second emperor Yang Jian the nation was reunified and certain economic advances were achieved during that period. Due to the reunification of Sui Dynasty society became more peaceful and stable which provided room for social, political and economic growth. During the beginning of economical growth there was an agricultural increase as well as the skill industry making changes by expanding their services. The commerce was prospering in order to develop the national economy which started a major change in the economy of that time. Politically new systems were formed to helped govern the people better. Three Departments and Six Ministries was established this was the first in Chinese history. Through this system, the royal power was enhanced and...

Words: 692 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Comparison of Chinese Dynasties

...gone through many changes in their early years. The Sui, Tang and Song dynasties played a major role in transforming the political, economic and social structure of the country. Each dynasty incorporated policies that changed the landscape and affected the people of China. The Sui Dynasty had two distinct periods of rule and each had a lasting and profound effect on his people. Wen Ti was the first to rule and saw him enact a new set of strategies that would benefit the Chinese people in all facets of their lives. Ti introduced a tax reduction, a land allocation system and a census to address equitable and fair tax collection. These components working in concert with each other allowed for citizens to become more involved in commerce and ultimately drove the growth of the Chinese economy. Wen Ti’s son Yang was next to rule and similar to his father added to the country’s growth through innovative projects. His largest contribution was the construction of the Grand Canal. The Grand Canal opened the entire country form North to South, this passage way served as a key source in the movement of crops and goods throughout the country. For most of its history, China had a very sparse population in the South and The Grand Canal allowed for the movement of people throughout the entire country, this was key to the growth of the economy, growing the tax base and making rule easier in the entire country. The Tang Dynasty was the most glistening historical period in......

Words: 813 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

What Major Changes in Political Structures, Social and Economic Life, Occurred During Each of the Following? the Sui Dynasty, the Tang Dynasty, the Song Dynasty

...centuries. It became unified in 581 with the founding of the new dynasties, Sui, Tang, and Song dynasties. During the time of these dynasties, many changes took place. There were changes in the political, social, and economic structures. The first changes took place during the Sui dynasty in 581. Additional changes took place during the Tang dynasty in 618, and the Song dynasty in 960. The Sui dynasty was founded by Yang Jian. Jian was a member of a respected aristocratic family in northern China. (Duiker & Spielvogel, 2009) Yang Jian turned to Daoism and Buddhism to unify the empire. Jian founded monasteries for both religions in the capital and assigned Buddhist monks as political advisers. A new political system was put in place; three departments and six ministries. Royal power was enhanced and the work division in the court became detailed. The traditional Jiupin Zhung Zheng (nine ranks of officials) Hierarchical system was replaced by the Imperial Examination system. ("Sui dynasty," ) The Grand Canal was constructed during the Sui dynasty; linking the Yellow and the Yangtze Rivers. The Grand Canal served many purposes. For example, it made it possible to introduce the grain and other items from the rice-rich southern provinces to the heavily populated north. The agricultural acreage was increased largely which promoted the crop yield. Advances were made in ship-building technology. ("Sui dynasty," ) The Grand Canal also served as a speedy......

Words: 742 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

The Shang Dynasty

...The Shang dynasty, also known as Yin, was in power approximately from the years 1765 - 1027 B.C. According to the Chinese, the start of the Shang dynasty began when Tang, a man of great virtue and wisdom, overthrew the decadent emperor Kie. Kie was known to be the last man in the Hsia dynasty. The Shang Dynasty was the second hereditary dynasty in China. It lasted almost six hundred years with thirty-one kings and seventeen generations. The Shang used to be an old tribe that lived in the lower reach of the Yellow River. A very important part about the shang dynasty is their artifacts. The artifacts that go along with the history tell a story, and it is very close to their religions. One of their designs, have been in their dynasty for as long as it could be. The t’ao design, also known as that taotie design, is a historic piece of their spiritual virtues. The taotie characteristically consists of a zoomorphic mask in full face that may be divided, through the nose ridge at the center, into profile views of two one-legged beasts, or dragons, confronting each other. A ground pattern of squared spirals, the “thunder pattern” often serves as a design filler between and around the larger features of the design. The Shang taotie is a very popular design. Another culture that has very popular designs is the Pueblo Indian. Their pottery has made use of the market for ethnic art to express their artistic, religious and economic values. One remarkable thing about the interactions......

Words: 488 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

The Major Change in Sui, Tang Song Dynasty

...The Major Change in Sui, Tang Song Dynasty What are the major changes in political structures, social, and economic life in The Sui, Tang, and Song Dynasty. Well during the period of the dynasty that China was unified again when Young Jian a member of aristocratic family from northern china founded a new dynasty known as Sui. The Sui dynasty started 581 and ended 618bit was founded by Sui Wendi or Yang Jian. The major changes that occurred were reduce the rich-poor social gap, enhanced agricultural productivity, equalization system and have the governmental power centralized. The defense was improve and great was expanded and Buddhism was spread. When Yangdi took over the throne he didn’t seek to gain support from nomads. He restored Confucian education and examination system of bureaucrats. Yangdi lost support of nomads by supporting educational forms. Yangdi start expensive construction work. Yangdi luxury expense lost him public support and he was assassinated by his minister, but the biggest factor that led to the down fall was invadation of Goguryeo. Li Yuan took advantage of the situation and declared a new foundation dynasty known as Tang. The Tang dynasty started from 618 and ended 907 it was founded by Li family who gain power during the collapse of Sui Dynasty. According to Chinese history records The Tang dynasty was the greatest historic period in China. During this time period the economy, politics, culture and military strength reached an......

Words: 586 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

China's Tang Dynasty

...In this section (weeks 5-8) we have traced the evolution of military institutions and technologies in the Non-Western world (primarily East Asia) and how they pertained to broader social and political developments. Can you discern any particular patterns in how various states responded to particular types of military challenges? Choose a particular place and time (for example, Tang dynasty China) and discuss the relationship between social and institutional developments and the use of specific military tactics and technologies. Nathan Wells While it has long been realized that military challenges were key to the development of Western society; the Non-Western world by comparison has often received short shrift in relation to this subject. This is best illustrated by Kenneth Chase, who begins his work Firearms: A Global History to 1700 with this query: “Why was it the Europeans who perfected firearms when it was the Chinese who invented them?” (1) The underlying message of the statement therefore is that while the region (East Asia) might produce the occasional interesting moment for military history, the real determinants for military theory were occurring elsewhere. Chase’s complete thesis is a bit more pragmatic; hinging on the observation that constant emphasis on steppe warfare led East Asian powers to neglect the increasingly important gunpowder revolution. This seems a bit heavy-handed, however and fails to address the fact that firearms and the gunpowder......

Words: 2747 - Pages: 11

Free Essay

Shanghai Tang

...Shanghai Tang’s Customer In order to understand Shanghai Tang’s customer, it is important to first understand the overall market for luxury goods purchased by Chinese customers. There are several characteristics of the Chinese luxury consumer that can be viewed as broad-based, general features of the market. Once these features have been outlined to provide a context for the market in which Shanghai Tang operates, attention can then be turned to the particular customer segment that Shanghai Tang targets. The overall Chinese luxury market. One of the most salient broad-based features of the Chinese luxury customer is that the level of knowledge regarding luxury brands is not as well-developed as it is among most Western luxury customers. This has important ramifications for the China luxury market in general, because lower levels of differentiation between brands in the mind of the Chinese customer results in a reliance on other more overt cues to establish perceptions of prestige. For example, Joanne Ooi comments on branding in China and notes that “You must be expensive, prestigious and international to seduce the Chinese consumer.”[1] Furthermore, according to an Ernst and Young report cited by the case, Chinese customers are “more conspicuous customers who took pride in sporting international labels, which they considered a sign of success and wealth.”[2] Thus, in the Chinese luxury market, price, prestige, and international brand recognition are generally preconditions...

Words: 2137 - Pages: 9

Free Essay

An Analysis of the Change in the Style of Tang Poems

...Change in the Style of Tang Poetry 马瑶 Abstract: Certain literature, which always comes into being under certain social circumstances, generally including economic , political and traditional factors, always distinguishes itself with distinctive mark of era. Even for the same literature , in different period of development, also shows distinct features. Men of letters always possess certain common characters of that era which is the prime reason for diverse literary genres. This paper is going to discuss about changes of Tang poetry in there different periods of Tang Dynasty . Key words: poetry, poet, Tang Dynasty, feature I. The brief introduction to the four historical eras in Tang Dynasty According to the social situation,The history of Tang Dynasty is divided into four consecutive periods by historian:the early Tang, the flourishing Tang, the middle Tang and the late Tang. The early Tang is the primary period with all new things ascending, blooming and gradually coming into being ,which is the base of whole Tang. The flourishing Tang is product the of the early one, when all things reached a climax with a distinctive Tang culture after the preparation in early Tang. The early Tang and the flourishing Tang has a lot of mutual features , especially in poetry field, which therefore will be discussed together. Then came a hinge point in Tang history,......

Words: 1735 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Wu Zetian and Buddhist Art of the Tang Dynasty

...“Wu Zetian and Buddhist Art of the Tang Dynasty” written by Patricia Karetzky provides a number of evidence that Empress Wu is a generous supporter of Buddhism and her patronage led to a splendid achievement in Buddhist art. Per my understanding, it is a Standard Textbook or Encyclopedia Entry type of article. This article does not have many references to other published work and the writer is presenting existed evidence to support his objective of the paper. He used descriptive language to tell the fact and to provided information to readers instead of bringing in his own opinion or doing deep analysis of the information he collected. The article has a very clear structure. Besides the introduction and conclusion parts, the article has three subheadings. The first one is from P114 to P116. The author talks about Buddhist activities in earlier Tang Dynasty and in Zhou. Under this section, the author also made two sub-points. One sub-point demonstrated the relationship Wu Zetian built with Buddhist monks and the Buddha images, such as Emperor Asoka she supported to build in the temple. The second sub-point illustrated that Wu Zetian also sponsored Buddhist monks on their translation activities and she involved in writing preface for these translations, such as Dayun sutra (Karetzky, 116). The second subheading is about Buddhist artistic evidence, which is from P116 to P122 and it includes three subsections, which are Empress Wu as Maitreya and the Dayunjing, Buddhist Art......

Words: 562 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Qing Dynasty

...THE IMPACT OF THE QING DYNASTY ON MODERN EAST ASIA The Qing Dynasty and Modern East Asia In what ways did the history of the Qing Dynasty effect modern East Asia? The Qing Dynasty has had countless effects on China and East Asia, including but not limited to the current distribution of land, philosophies and economic status. The anti-trade mentality plus the ups and downs in the Trade agreements the Qing Dynasty had been a part of relates to the state of modern China. The Manchus created the Qing Dynasty and combined many regions and cultures, creating a multinational empire and in a way unified China. Modern East Asia has been impacted by the Qing Dynasty throughout the many wars and how the regions and countries ended up being distributed amongst the winning and losing sides. The Qing Dynasty’s limitation of trade for the protection of its people was smart at the time to the Qing but it limited the total growth of China as a whole. The Qing had placed strict regulations on what can be traded and where those items could be traded, which at the time the Qing thought was a good idea to help protect their culture by limiting outside influences into its country. Early in the Qing Dynasty, the Qing traded with select European countries, Korea, Ryukyu, Japan, and other smaller states but only in selective categories. Near the end of the Qing Dynasty, China began or was even forced to accept more western......

Words: 968 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Tang Dynasty Ceramics

...cultural development. “In the Far East, pottery has been found from around 10,000 BC” (Hutt 69). The Tang Dynasty period, 618 to 907 AD is only one small section of history on the Chinese pottery timeline, but it is noted especially for its ceramic funerary animals and its change from earthenware to stoneware. There is a strong foreign influence during this period and it is evident in the ceramics as well as other art (Medley 77). During the Tang period, there are gradual improvements in the earthenware and stoneware. It seems that there is a search for the “pure white body” (Medley 97). For centuries, there had been a continued effort to make bodies cleaner, whiter, and harder. It is in the Tang Period that “the clay bodies themselves were essentially kaolinic, being supplemented… with other ingredients which helped towards a degree of vitrification. It is to this type of material in north China that the term porcellanous is applied” (Medley 99). It is perhaps a type of “protoporcelain” that leads historians to believe that porcelain was developed sometime between the Han and Tang dynasties (Latourette 628). This had a profound impact on the art of Asia and of Europe (Medley 102). The result of this type of pottery was also the invention of the word “china,” the modern word for more refined ceramics used today (Smith 142). The animals frequently found in Tang ceramics were created using several moulds and then by luting [cross-hatching] the pieces together and...

Words: 1165 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

The Sui, Sang, Tang Dynasties

...Jeff Woodard HS150D: World Civilizations Assignment 6_06 September 11th 2014 The Sui Dynasty, started from 581 and ended in 618, the Sui Dynasty lasted for only 38 years and had only three emperors. With a tyrannical second emperor - Emperor Yang, this dynasty was often compared to the Qin Dynasty (221 BC - 206 BC). However, the whole nation was reunified and certain economic and political advances were achieved in the period. At the end of the Northern and Southern Dynasties (386 - 589), the whole nation had undergone a long period of division. People who had endured sufferings of war were longing for the unification but neither the Northern Dynasties nor Southern Dynasties realized this goal. In Northern Zhou (557 - 581), Yang Jian, who was born to the noble class and was the Chengxiang (Prime Minister) of the last emperor, monopolized the political and military power and suppressed the separatist forces as well as some other royal forces. In 581, Yang Jian replaced Northern Zhou with Sui and proclaimed himself Emperor Wen. Thus Sui was founded, with Chang'an (currently Xian) the capital and Luoyang the auxiliary capital. In 589, the Sui Court defeated the last of the Southern Dynasties, Chen, and unified the whole nation. At reunification the society become more economically stable and thus societal functions became a more nature everyday thing. Ship building was incorporated in the skills industry and several other farming techniques were......

Words: 2110 - Pages: 9

Free Essay

Peace and Prosperity of the Tang Dynasty

...Peace and Prosperity of the Tang Dynasty China is a country with an incredibly rich history spanning more than 2,000 years. This history involves centuries and centuries of dynasties being overthrown and the repeated splitting and reunification of China. With constant conflict and millions of soldiers having died over the years, one would think China would never experience a state of tranquility, and then the Sui dynasty was succeeded by the Tang dynasty. The Tang dynasty was a period of peace and prosperity for China. There were many factors that contributed to the peace and prosperity of the Tang dynasty, however it seems to be true that all things good must come to an end. This time of peace was disrupted by the Rebellion of An Lushan, which marked the decline of the Tang dynasty. There were many components that gave way to the peacefulness of China prevalent during the Tang dynasty, some of which were residual from the Sui dynasty. One of the major factors was the reunification of north and south China. This occurred under the reign of the Sui dynasty, which prevented future conflicts between the north and the south by creating a sense of unity and wholeness. Although the unification was done by force, it greatly benefited China and the Tang dynasty. It is said that this unification “ushered in three centuries of cultural flowering,”1 which is a very long period of cultural advancement, especially for China. Another feat under the Sui dynasty was the construction of most...

Words: 1153 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Shanghai Tang

...therefore heavily influenced by your social circle. Getting a professional office worker in Shanghai to sport a mandarin collar instead of necktie is no easy task – no matter how premium the product on offer. The mandarin collar is low, unfolded and can be buttoned to fit snugly around the neck, conjuring the image of a Qing dynasty scholar. For less conspicuous wear, it can be unfastened into a V-neck as Raphael le Masne De Chermont, executive chairman of Shanghai Tang, a Hong Kong-based clothing company, prefers to wear it. Since the mid-1990s, Shanghai Tang has been known for its apparel with a strikingly traditional Chinese influence. For the past several years, however, as it bids for attention of wealthy Chinese consumers who disdain dragons on their jackets, the brand is remaking its image with a far lighter Chinese touch. The change in ideology is not without its challenges. De Chermont refuses to wear neckties and demands others to take their's off. “It's the leash of the corporate animal,” he says on the sidelines of a luxury brand forum in Shanghai on March 22, before exhorting this reporter to unknot his own. As an ideological statement, Shanghai Tang does not sell neckties despite the huge mainland market for them. The decidedly Chinese collar isn't just about comfort or fashion. It's a cultural statement, playing ever so slightly on the sentiments of the country's illustrious past while also hoping to sidestep the twinge of unpleasant moments in history.......

Words: 1482 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Sui, Tang, & Song Dynasties

...Running head: MAJOR CHANGES Major Political, Social, and Economical Changes: Sui Dynasty, Tang Dynasty, Song Dynasty Mariness Santana-Ramos Ashworth College From 589-1127 China went through major political, economic, and social changes during the Sui, Tang, and Song Dynasties. Despite all of the turmoil, each dynasty made their own substantially useful contributions during it’s time. For example, the Sui Dynasty contributed the Grand Canal, the Tang Dynasty revived confusionism, and the Sui Dynasty strengthened China’s government and economy. The Sui Dynasty lasted from 589-618. During this time general Yang Jian reigned as Emperor Wendi from 581-604. Before 581, Yang Jian had appointed himself to rule China in place of his infant grandson. Then in 581 he forced his own grandson out and claimed Heaven’s Mandate for himself. Thus, beginning the Sui Dynasty (Judge, E. H., 2012). Yang Jian conquered all of the weak states and by 589, and for the first time in centuries, one man ruled all of China. Yang Jian focused mainly on reunifying connections. He came up with a nationwide law code and revived the civil service system. He began the construction of the Grand Canal. The Grand Canal was a huge waterway connecting the north and the south. It made transportation for military troops and grain much easier (Judge, E. H., 2012). The canal served as a major means of transport and in turn unified China. The Gran Canal served as the Sui Dynasty’s beneficial contribution...

Words: 1180 - Pages: 5