Assimilation of Buddhism
Qingtan or ching-t'an (pure conversation) Often entailed monks: many of them quickly learned Chinese. Gathered in parlors and talked about philosophy and religious ideas. Earliest venues of exchanging those ideas. Grafting foreign ideas onto native roots.
Problem of Geyi or ko-i (matching concepts) Achieved through qingtan. Way people sought to understand complex Buddhist ideas was through existing Taoist terms (Wu, WuWei - nirvana). Interchange of Taoist terms for Buddhist. Taoist notion of dharma, or the way, in Buddhism. Conventional way to exchange Buddhist ideas. Easy access to Buddhism, but problem of conflation in Taoism: originial meaning was lost; turned Buddhism Chinese. Distinct from the Indian Buddhism: now Chinese tradition. Not only did they confused terms, but also confused persons - Buddhists with Taoist deity.
Laozi Huahu Jing Lao Zi transforming Barbarians. Went to India and taught Siddharta Guatama everything. Idea that Buddhism: ultimately Chinese beliefs that traveled to India and traveled back to China.
Cultural obstacles to synthesis Chinese language was solid and concrete, could not convey abstract ideas experienced in Sanskrit languages. Didn't have vocabulary to accommodate Buddhist ideas. India had psychological emphasis that Chinese didn't have: assumption of family, Chinese had been based on the 5 relationships and filial piety. In order for Buddhism to be accepted, it had to be compromised.
Master Hui Yuan Earliest proponent of gentry Buddhism. "A Monk Does Not Bow Down Before a King." Example of apologetic writings which defend new ideas. Tend to focus on issues that reflect the greatest anxiety and that produces the greatest contention. Trying to find the middle ground. "Any son who seeks to joining the monasteric order must first receive permission from parents." Was not a radical preacher: tried to present with the values as not only compatible for the state but also for the family. Representative of much of this effort.
Theravada vs. Mahayana Theravada: "Way of the Elder" Historical Buddha, especially the practices and trdadition that was associated with practical Buddha. More gradual, more disciplined approach to englightenment. Sp ecific practices of the Buddha. Laoz, Cambodia, and S.E.Africa belonged to Theravada.Mahayana: "Great Vehicles" More on intercession of buddhas and bodhisattvas. Less a personal path. Chanting to appeal for the help. Intervention of Buddha. Subtism: paths to enlightenment are much more flexible and accessible. Possible for someone to attain enlightenment suddenly. China, Korea and Japan all belonged to Mahayana. Transition of religion is tied in with trade routes.
Gentry Buddhism of the south artistic, elitist society. Gained patronage through some rulers. Content, voluntary.
Emperor Wu of Liang 502-549. "Emperor Bodhisattva." Son of Heaven.
Attempt to combine the Chinese notion of divine emperor with Buddhist notion of a savior of compassion.
Figure of Vimalakirti aristocrat in the time of Buddha. Eloquent and pious. As a bridge to the gentry elite: reassured them that they didn't have to give up worldly pleasures in order to be pious. Ideal for an aristocratic layman.
Ming Sengshao a Buddhist layman. Consistently refused position of office but chose to live like Buddha. Lofty and honorable reclusion.
Caesaro-papism of the north source of political legitimacy and social cohesion of Northern Wei. Alternative to Confucians as state ideology. Services provided by monasteries and temples. Threat posed by some temple enterprises. Failed backlash. Buddhism fully integrated in state-craft.
Taba Huns Gradual integration. Capital at Luoyang. Securing the northern border. Acted as buffer against aggressive Northerners. Policy theme is strong centralized rule that undermined the local rule. As a alien presence, had to work hard to gain legitimacy to become Chinese.
Social services of temples it became major employers hiring laborers, helped agricultural wealth, major source of money lending. Oversaw local rituals and community needs. Responsible for education, presided over fertility rights. it Officiated marriages and funerals.