Empress Wu and Buddhism: A Symbiotic Relationship Essay

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Wu Zhao, the first female emperor of China, rose to power during the Tang Dynasty and her active role with Buddhism fabricated a perpetual impact in the Chinese society as a whole. There is no doubt that Buddhism and the Tang administration, under Wu’s reign, formed a symbiotic relationship with one another. She is considered to be one of the most prominent advocators of the religion during the era. Her efforts to spread of Buddhism and the monetary support help Buddhism to expand throughout the people significantly, which provide the religion another source of financial income to spread even further. Regardless of Empress Wu’s intention, she has furnished the religion in numerous ways, but what did she receive in return? This proposes…show more content…
On top of being advantageous for the justification of Wu’s throne, the adoption of Buddhism also benefitted the Chinese government. Wu’s openhanded policies towards Buddhism and her proclamation of an era of peace brought the empire economic stability and prosperity (Smarr Feb. 17 2012). The reciprocated correlation between religion and state is clearly identified by Wu’s unambiguous relationship with Buddhism: Wu accepts the previously rejected religion and becomes its primary fiscal source, which ultimately leads to the wide-spread of Buddhism throughout the country, while Buddhism, in return, legitimizes her reign and facilitates the trade routes on the silk roads to the western world, bringing countless advantages to China and significantly boosting the Chinese economy during a peaceful period. The interdependency between Wu and Buddhism blooms as early as her overtaking of the imperial rule of China. As resourceful and violent as Wu is in securing her title, demonstrated by the empress’s exploitation of the “secret police force to monitor dissident factions,” she is also cunning in gathering support from the ordinary masses, such as the Buddhists and their followers (Bentley 290). She “generously patronize[s] Buddhists, who return the favor by composing
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