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  1. How Buddhism Challenged the Existing Order of Chinese Society Between 200 and 900


    How Buddhism Challenged the Existing Order of Chinese Society Between 200 and 900  


Subject Religion Pages 8 Style APA


How Buddhism Challenged the Existing Order of Chinese Society Between 200 and 900

This paper advances the argument that, between 200 and 900, Buddhism greatly challenged the existing order of the Chinese society by altering human relations, transforming the national practices and customs, and converting numerous Chinese into monks. The rise of Buddhism to prominence within the Chinese society commenced after the Wei and the Han dynasties. This period saw the emergence of the doctrine of images. Buddhism experienced widespread acceptance in China, and this resulted in tremendous growth of this religion (Liu and Mair 378). This goal of this paper is thus to discuss how Buddhism challenged the prevailing order of Chinese society between 200 and 900.

The primary sources that will be employed in addressing this question are Liu and Mair’s article entitled “Political and Economic Problems concerning Buddhism”, Fosters article entitled “Selections from the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch” and excerpt from the Lotus Sutra, and by respectively. These sources are preferred for this paper owing to their relevance and significance in addressing the topic of study. The relevance of Mair’s article to this paper lies in the fact that it discusses several aspects that challenged the prevailing social Chinese order between 200 and 900 including conversion of individuals into nuns and monks, economic disempowerment of Chinese people, and erosion of Chinese values and customs, as well as human relations. The Lotus Sutra excerpt emphasizes various doctrines of Buddhism that differed from the existing values and customs of the Chinese society including fulfillment, principle of accommodation, women’s salvation, and the human Buddha’s revelation among others. As such, the relevance of the excerpt from Lotus Sutra in addressing the topic of the paper lies in the fact that it highlights the various doctrinal teachings of Buddhism that contributed to the alteration of values and customs of the Chinese society and conversion of many Chinese women and men into Buddhists, thereby challenging the prevailing social order. Foster’s article provides a detailed accounts of the Chan’s beliefs and Bodhidharma practices associated with Chan’s Buddhist tradition, and how they impacted the Chinese society between 200 and 900, which makes it relevant for this paper.

Liu and Mair reveal that the gaining of roots by Buddhism in Chinese society was accompanied by significant transformations or alteration of social relations and order.Buddhism started as a humanist and individualistic soteriology which sermonized the rejection of typical householder life and its linked rituals. Monks and nuns forsake work and worldly action, and lay individuals support them in return for spiritual and ritual services.  Liu and Mair support this argument by arguing that several monks and nuns beneath heaven await agriculturalists to feed them and women to dress them (378). The monastic discipline separated wives and husbands, and hence proved to be the most harmful religion to the human relations and law (Liu and Mair 378). In addition, other aspects of social order within the Chinese society were greatly disrupted. For instance, women’s occupation with Buddhism prevented them from engaging in their routine family duties such as raising silkworms, which were needed to safeguard individuals from cold. Furthermore, occupation with Buddhism hindered several farmers from cultivating the land, which in turn created food shortage (Liu and Mair 378). Even though the Lotus Sutrahas challenged the arguments that Buddhism is meant to deprive the poor, Mair asserts that construction projects executed by Buddhists cost much human labor, and that the monastic ornaments made of treasures including gold deprived the Chinese society their economic gains or benefits (378). It is also vital to note that Buddhism created a social structure characterized by religious teachers or monks replaced fathers and rulers by assuming their leadership roles (378). As such, the Chinese social order which prioritized rulers and fathers as leaders was greatly undermined.

Liu and Mair argue that Emperor Wuzong’s dislike for the Buddhist religion made hos gave the mandate to limit the Buddhist monasteries’ numbers under heaven (378).  In relation to this, a memorial was written by the secretariat chancellery to the throne proposing that one monastery in each greater prefecture where all the sacred figures statues could be protected and closing of monasteries in inferior regions. But the majesty issued an imperial order commanding that suitable monasteries be permitted in superior prefectures however only those of fine workmanship were to stay. Nonetheless, the dilapidated monasteries were to be closed and torn down despite being positioned in superior prefectures (Liu and Mair 378). Only two monasteries were permitted to remain on the Changan and Luoyang streets and thirty monks permitted to stay in every monastery. However, the secretarial submitted another memorial to the throne proposing casting the bronze statues, gongs, and bells into coins, and the issuance of the iron statues to prefectures and cast into agricultural tools. Likewise,the proposed the melting of gold, silver and brass statues for government expenditures as well as those in nobles and commoners’ homes be handed over to government offices in a month. People who disobeyed those orders were punished (Liu and Mair 378).

The except from Lutus Sutra reveals that Buddhism also challenged the prevailing social order of the Chinese by replacing their customs and values with doctrines from the Lotus Sutra.The Lotus Sutra is crucial in Mahayana Buddhism, and it became renowned after its translation to Chinese and was perceived as amongst the canonical sutras of Chinese Buddhism.The sutras aretermedtheLotus Sutra since the lotus signified the coherence of cause and impacted chiefly the cause of aiming to enlightenment (Buddhahood) and the impact of achieving it because the lotus is a flower that blossoms and seeds concurrently. Likewise, it signifies the Buddhahood purity was thriving in the middle of everyday lives, same as the lotus thrives in muddy pond water. After the Buddha’s death, the Buddhist orders were divided into two camps: the elder’s school, which concentrates on maintaining customs, and the excellent congregation school, which focused on adapting societal changes.

Buddhism contributed to the conversion of several Chinese into monks and nuns by convincing them using the Lotus Sutra doctrine, thereby disrupting the prevailing social order. The early sectarian schools preserved and dispersed the Buddha’s teachings and had a social impact as monastic commands, and that an enormous number of laypersons supported those schools. After the first century, another new group emerged from part of the sectarian schools whose intentions were to assist all humans in achieving Buddhahood. This group named their teaching “Mahayana” (great vehicle). Lotus Sutra is known for its seven parables. The first and most well-known is the burning house parable (The Lotus Sutra448). This parable, according to Buddha is the dominion ofrebirth where he is the dad and the kids are the sentiment universe beings so engrossed in the world that they disregard is dangers. Aware of the fondness andabilities of sentient beings, the Buddha entices them to different escape paths Samsara by providing them something that allures to their restricted desires. But this is his skillful means. Upon setting out on that path or even reaching its ultimate destination, he discloses that there is only one that and one aim: the single-vehicle to Buddhahood. This inspiring disclosure is followed by an unattractive explanation of the fate that anticipates those who disregard the Lotus Sutra and belittle those who follow it. After their demise, they will be reborn in hell, and when they have afterward reincarnated as humans, they will agonize all sorts of diseases.

 The Buddha’s disclosure of the single-vehicle triggers the great arhats, starting with Sariputrato demand future Buddhahood prophesies (The Lotus Sutra 447), something that all bodhisattvas must get to progress on the Buddhahood path. Also, they clarify that they were unaware that they were valuable to follow this path, demonstrating this with the prodigal son’s parable (The Lotus Sutra450). the prodigal son left home when his dad had amassed massive wealth. When the son ultimately returns, he feels pitiful to claims his birthright, and his dad must use different methods to assure him of his destiny. The Buddha’s skillful implies are demonstrated in the conjured city parable. In this parable, Buddha is the leader, and the treasure is the Buddhahood. If Buddha has clarified how long the Buddhahood path was, several will not pursue it from the inception. Thus, he inspires beings to pursue the nirvana of the arhat. But upon reaching it, he clarifies that it is an illusion and that the actual objective lies ahead. Intertwined via the sutra are what he termed as the methods of legitimation.

The Buddha narrates several narratives from the far distant past afore past incidents illustrated in the earlier traditions. Thus, these narratives define the Lotus Sutra being taught in ancient times in foreign universities with the Buddha’s ancient audience members. In contrast, he was a bodhisattva nor materializing in the current. If the Lotus Sutra was taught decades ago, it could not be a contemporary innovation; something Buddhism has customarily denounced. Likewise discovered in the sutra are different prophecies and pledges of the glories that anticipate the Lotus devotees even if that dedication takes modest version as reciting sutra’s single verse, providing flowers to the text, or only connecting one’s hand in reverence. Thus, those altruistic cautions are sometimes combined with cautions and not only of the fate that anticipates those who decline to recognize that the Lotus Sutra is Buddha’s word. Buddha, from the onset, meant to preach this Buddha vehicle doctrine. However, he was aware that the persons with no penchant for listening to the Buddha’s law would not believe in it.However, on the contrary, would slander it. Hence to nurture individuals’ capabilities to the same level, he initially spent forty years preaching.

Foster supports the Lotus Sutra teachings and their impact on the existing Chinese order with his demonstration of Bodhidharma practices of the Chan’s Buddhist tradition in china and the disunion period (295). Bodhidharma, its first patriarch, was an Indian monk who came to China and underlined the significance of the direct encounter of enlightenment via meditation. He was uninterested in the intricate ideologies that defined other Buddhism schools in china; he termed Chan a school of mind-to-mind dispersion without composed texts. The Platform Sutra of the sixth patriarch comprises several of the Chan school’s primary ideas via the Huineng’s life. A modern Guangdong province native and originally an unschooled firewood peddler, Huineng’s joined the Chan monastery run by the Fifth Patriarch, Huineng’s, after listening to a traveling monk preaching (Foster 296). The platform Sutra begins with Huineng’s discovering of a successor to become the sixth patriarch. The Platform Sutra is amongst the most renowned and influential Chinese Chan texts Buddhist custom. Besides, it is perceived as the characteristic and culminating text of the earlyChan for several Buddhist educators and scholars. The sutras illustrate Huineng’s life and teachings. The Platform Sutra is both novels and challenging since it challenges customary thoughts concerning enlightenment, meditation, spiritually nourishing, and other elements of orthodox Buddhist teachings.

Although initially provoking, it ultimately triggered some unity to Chan beliefs and practice and created trends methodically created in the Middle Chan and Song dynasty Chan eras. Huineng triggered the Northern-Southern school clash and other fewer polemic writers. He wanted to promote his version of Chan ideals and practice advocating for south china culture over north china and position himself to become the seventh patriarch (Foster 296). The Platform Sutra was composed during a vigorous discussion in the progressing Chan school over matters like who the actual sixth patriarch was, what constituted the authentic Chan teachings, and how the newly fabricated Chan lineage of patriarchs dating back to the historic Buddha could most effectively be integrated into their teachings. Also,Huineng’s position was somehow low; he worked in the monastery winnowing room. Upon becoming the sixth patriarch, the Chan school separated. Shenxiu, his competitor, led the Northern school, whereas Huineng steered the southern school. Ultimately the southern school prevailed. Thus, their differing perspectives are enshrined in the poems each made to articulate his comprehension of Chan.

In conclusion, Buddhism largely challenged the existing Chinese social order between 200and 900 by transforming the Chinese values and customs, converting several Chinese men and women into nuns and monks, and altering social relations. This argument has been justified effectively in this paper by focusing on three primary source texts by Liu and Mair and Foster, and excerpt from Lotus Sutra.


Foster, Robert. “47. Selections from the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch.” Hawai ‘i Reader in Traditional Chinese Culture. University of Hawaii Press, 2005. 295-299.

Liu, Xinru, and Victor H. Mair. “56. Political and Economic Problems concerning Buddhism.” Hawai ‘i Reader in Traditional Chinese Culture. University of Hawaii Press, 2005. 377-379.

The Lotus Sutra














Appendix A:

Communication Plan for an Inpatient Unit to Evaluate the Impact of Transformational Leadership Style Compared to Other Leader Styles such as Bureaucratic and Laissez-Faire Leadership in Nurse Engagement, Retention, and Team Member Satisfaction Over the Course of One Year

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