Why Buddhism Was Successful In China


Missionaries and traders that traveled Silk Road, during the late Han Dynasty 202 BC – 220 AD, brought Buddhism to China. By the time Buddhism hit China, the Indians had already practicing the religion for over five hundred years. The faith really took off when the Han Dynasty began to fall, which ended their strict beliefs of Confucius. There are two kind of Buddhist, the Theravada Buddhist have strict meditation and reading of teachings of Buddha. This kind of Buddhism is most popular in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. The kind of Buddhism that is most popular in China is Mahayana Buddhism, where believers compare the teachings of Buddha as more abstract and they also accept Amitabha a contemporary Buddha but the Theravada Buddhists don’t expect.

One of the main reasons that it became so popular is because Buddhism address human suffering, which China found comforting about the chaos that had just happen with the fall of the Han Dynasty. When it was first introduced to China it was faced with competition with Daoism, which was native to China. Daoism believed in strict morals and an order society and didn’t see life as suffering. Daoism believed that the soul lives after one dies and travels around. Today both religions are used together for some Chinese people.

The popularity of Buddhism lead to the Sui and Tang Dynasties to adopt it as their religion. Even foreign rulers of China like the Manchus and Yuan Dynasty used it. The Manchus used Buddhism to connect to their new country so the they could become better rulers. Even though China shifted its religion to atheism after China was taken over by Communists in 1949, Buddhism was still growing in China and really took off again in the 80’s after the economy was reformed. There is a huge number of ethnic minorities that practice Buddhism, Mulam, Jingpo, Maonan, Blang, Achang, Jing, and Derung, just in these minorities that is over half a million practicing Buddhist. Just in China there is over one hundred million Buddhist and they have over twenty thousand temples just in China. Buddhism is the largest religion in China and Buddhism isn’t only in China. You can find people that practice Buddhism all over the world, freedom of religion allows everyone to choose what religion they want to practice and with so many to choose from, there is a religion for everyone.