Buddhism in the chinese state, Humanities

Buddhism in the Chinese State

Full integration of Buddhism Fully integrated into local economy. Provided essential cultural coherence, was the source of economy and one way to bring North and South cultures together. Large and powerful temple enterprises: major employers - hired constructors, etc; farming land - wealth and influence; became a major source of money landing. Oversaw local rituals and community needs: temples often held vegetarian feasts - through them people were introduced to Buddhism; many fairs took place on temple ground; time of crisis and need (drought, famine, ect) - people would look to the temple. Vast network of rural temples: many temples provided the only schools; really transformed Buddhism because Buddhist monks now presided over the community; like Shaman-many looked to them to preside over rituals and monks officiated marriages. Lay community gaining merit through patronage: people gave donations/gifts; the thought of "if you give to the temple, It would accumulate merit through ancestors and have a good rebirth" - like the selling of indulgences. Religion conflated with profit.

"Scripture on Perfect Wisdom" An example of  "Forging a common cause" with the state. Humane kings by following the dharma can not only protect the sate but also protect himself. Some scriptures are associated with magical powers. Scriptures stipulate that kings must explain to strangers what it means at rituals. If a humane king can do all of these, the state can avert all calamities - conquest by enemy, droughts, or pestilence. Calamities will be extinguished as long as stipulates were read and rituals were kept.

Bukong's authorship One explanation of why the scripture might have been composed is the legend of the Buddha presenting it to King Prasenajit - those who believed in Mofa believed that Chinese will reach mofa after 500, and scripture was intended to address the gradual dissolution and disappearnce of the dharma. However, it is historically more accurate to say that it was written in China around 5th century, during Daizong's Reign. Daizong's commission to Bukong in 765 may have been because he wanted protection against the possible invasion of Tibetans, or there was a drought and through scripture he wanted to promote rain - Shamanism in the guise of Buddhist practice. 

Huichang Suppression 840-845 One example of sporadic persecution of temples and monasteries. Under N. Wei (446-452) confiscated all tax-exempt temples. Monasteries no longer could receive tax exemption. 4000 monasteries and 40,000 shrines were destroyed. Retreats from political arena, became more of a personal pursuit.

Age of Degenerate Dharma (Mo Fa) Mofa: apocalyptic idea of extinguishing of dharma. After 500 Chinese will reach Mofa. Scripture was intended to address the gradual dissolution/disappearnce of the dharma. "Crisis of Referentiality." Their explanation of this contradiction was that "because we are in this age, everything becomes reverse." Outward signs no longer referred to inward realities because we were in the age of dharma being dissolved.

Emperor as bodhisattva Buddhism now has to be open to radical changes: now the human kings played the pivotal role in assuring salvation, whereas before it was Buddha or bodhisattva. Monks insisted on autonomy of their temples: assert independence of monks and if the ruler keeps the ritual, monks benefited because they had to preside over those rituals. Rulers gain greater authority and significance, and acquired discipline through the vinayas which were the monastic code of conduct.

Justification of the Incense Rite in Zanning's reading. Tried to argue that rather than performing sacrifices, why incense was most approriate and filial piety of honoring your ancestors of the emperor. Good example of synthesis.

Confucian-Taoist Challenge accused monks to be lethargic, taxation problem. They stressed the idea of Maitreya Buddha to threaten the present secular rulers.

Threat of Maitreyism Maitreya: Buddha of the Future, a cosmic figure that will come later to redeem the world.

Posted Date: 2/28/2013 1:50:16 AM | Location : United States

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