Buddism India to China

When a Chinese official received instructions on a Buddhist scripture from a foreign envoy in 2 B.C , China was already an incredibly advanced civilization with a strong philosophical foundation. This factor gave the country a unique position as the exception in a list of comparatively undeveloped countries which were to come under the spreading wing of Buddhism. As such, as Buddhism traveled to China from India, it was'obliged to compete'with schools of thought that had for centuries infiltrated the minds of the entire population. What set it apart was that Buddhism, although a philosophy, was in practice strongly religious- something essentially new to the Chinese tradition.In order to effectively translate this new doctrine a huge amount of teaching was manipulated and adapted in a way that could be understood by not only the extreme, dedicated monk, but the laity. In contrast to the Indian concern with the'other' non-descript world in their teaching, various schools of thought in China developed with a more pragmatic approach. Concentrating primarily on the Mahayana variant they reflected a Confucian focus on this world through their quest for immortality and salvation through faith, thus discontinuing the fundamental objective of Nirvana.Taoist interpretations of Buddhism were similar in their focus on this world, and through further misinterpretations of Indian tradition the two, rather than holding to their clearly distinctive origins seemed to merge into less sophisticated forms of mysticism and superstition .This obvious Chinesedifficulty in the direct comprehension of foreign ideas was further illustrated in the fact that although there were as many as 13 different schools of religious and philosophical thought in China, each was labeled under the umbrella of Buddhism, indicative finally of a strong tendency toward syncretism. It is thus a tedious exercise to see how, if at all beyond an abstra…


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