Did Han Yu’s memorial on the Bone of Buddha contributed to religious intolerance and persecution of Buddhism in the late Tang dynasty?
Chinese Buddhism reached its highest point of popularity and influence during Han Yu’s lifetime, and this matter as a Confucian greatly concerned him.
Han Yu was afraid and disappointed that the traditional Chinese value system as family ancestors worship will be lost if Buddhism’s influences will continue to thrive and gain more influence on every level in society.
He did not agree that Confucian values were excluded from Buddhist and Daoist values and to see bringing” a finger “of Buddha, (who was a foreigner to China), was blasphemy and insulting to Confucian values and traditional Chinese…show more content… Emperor Wuzong hated the sight of Buddhist monks, since he thought were tax-evaders. In 845, he ordered the destruction of 4,600 Buddhist monasteries and 40,000 temples. About 250,000 Buddhist monks and nuns had to give up their monastery lives. Wuzong cited that Buddhism was an alien religion, which is the reason he also persecuted the Christians and Zoroastrians which he regarded as heretical forms of Buddhism. It is obvious that the emperor Wuzong persecuted any religion that did not comply with Chinese society.
In edict concerning the two religions the emperor said: “ As for the Tai-Ch’in (Syrian) and Muh-hu (Zoroastrian) forms of worship, since Buddhism has already been cast out, these heresies alone must not be allowed to survive. People belonging to these also are to be compelled to return to the world, belong again to their own districts, and become tax payers. As for foreigners, let them be returned to their own countries, there to suffer restraint” (Philip,1998, p.33).
In regards to the last sentence it is clear that emperor Wuzong only wanted tax payers which would create income for a government. He wanted all foreigners to leave which would therefore prevent changes in the traditional Chinese society.
In conclusion, foreign influences caused problems in the Tang China. Economically they drained commerce because Buddhist monks and nuns did neither work nor pay taxes. Socially, families