Buddhism in China, A historical survey - download pdf or read online

By Kenneth Ch'en

CONTENTS: Preface. desk of chinese language Dynasties. Maps of Dynasties. creation, progress and Domestication. adulthood and attractiveness. Decline. end. word list. chinese language Names and Titles. Bibliography. Index.

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M an consists of a m aterial body and a spiritual soul. The body comes into being at birth and disintegrates at death, but the soul is eternal and indestructible. D ue to the effects of karma, this soul is forever bound to the cycle of rebirths. Th e H o u H a n C hi (A nnals of th e L ater H a n ) of Yiian H ung (3 2 8 -3 7 6 ) summarizes this Buddhist view succinctly : The Buddhists walso teach that when a person dies, his soul does not perish, but would becom e reborn and assume another form.

One night in a dream Emperor Ming saw a golden deity flying in front of his palace. On the morrow he asked his ministers to explain the identity of this deity. One of them, Fu Yi, replied that he heard there was a sage in India who had attained salvation and was designated the Buddha, who was able to fly, and whose body was of a golden hue. He went on to say that the deity seen in the dream was this Buddha. The ruler accepted his explanation and dispatched en­ [29 ] voys abroad to learn m ore about this sage and his teachings.

Yao rendered homage to Yin Chou, Shun to Wu Ch eng, Chou-kung to Lii Wang and Confucius to Lao Tan. But none of these is mentioned in the seven classics. Now these masters are all sages, but comparing them with the Buddha is like comparing a-whit© deer to a unicorn, a swallow to a phoenix. If Yao, Shun, Duke Chou, and Confucius accepted these as masters, how much more should they accept and not reject as master the Buddha with his major and minor marks, gift of meta­ morphosis, and his supernatural powers without limit?

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