The Relationship Between Confucianism And Buddhism Essay

2935 Words 12 Pages
“It is often said that, aside from the impact of Marxism on twentieth-century China, the only other time when the Chinese looked beyond their own borders for intellectual sustenance was during the period when Buddhism was absorbed from India” (LaFleur 23). Why did this religion appeal to the Chinese when they disregarded so many other external influences? After all, being tied to the rest of the world by the Silk Road meant they were constantly inundated with novel concepts from far and wide. The answer must lie in how Buddhism interacted with the other faiths already established in the country, namely Confucianism and Daoism (sometimes spelled Taoism). While at first glance it may appear that Confucian China would be the last place …show more content…
The political turmoil and the ebb in Confucianism’s popularity that resulted from the fall of the Han Empire in 220 C.E. gave Buddhism its foothold in Chinese society and culture after almost two centuries of marginal existence in the country (Zuercher
416).

China’s acceptance of the religion was actually a boon for Buddhism because, while
Indians were not much concerned with writing down their scriptures or historical accounts, the
Chinese copied down and translated their received teachings with meticulous care (LaFleur 21).
In fact, when Mahayana scriptures were brought to China, it was the Chinese who sifted through the contradictory sutras to make sense of the new branch’s teachings as they translated them from Sanskrit (LaFleur 24). Many early writers of Buddhist texts in China also worked hard to make their works appealing to Confucians, who were a tough crowd to impress.

Ku-fa-lan and She Moteng (also known as Kasyapa Matanga), who were missionaries from India, wrote the Sutra of Forty-two Sayings for the Chinese Emperor Ming-Di in 67 A.D.
They wrote in a more Confucian manner, and excluded contentious Buddhist material. For example, even though this “handbook of moral teaching” considers family ties to be fetters, it says a monk should treat all women as female relatives, that is, he should view