Buddhism and Buddhists in China
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As will be seen in what follows, religion in China is at first sight a mixed affair. From the standpoint of cruder household superstitions an average Chinese family may be regarded as Taoists; the principles by which its members seek to guide their lives individually and socially may be called Confucian; their attitude of worship and their hopes for the future make them Buddhists. The student would not be far afield when he credits the religious aspirations of the Chinese today to Buddhism, regarding Confucianism as furnishing the ethical system to which they submit and Taoism as responsible for many superstitious practices. But the Buddhism found in China differs radically from that of Southern Asia, as will be made clear by the following sketch of its introduction into the Flowery Kingdom and its subsequent history.
be found helpful to readers everywhere. The Editors. New York city, December, 1923. The Committee of Reference and Counsel of the Foreign Missions Conference of North America has authorized the publication of this series. The author of each volume is alone responsible for the opinions expressed, unless otherwise stated. CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTORY II. THE ENTRANCE OF BUDDHISM INTO CHINA III. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF BUDDHISM AS THE PREDOMINATING RELIGION OF CHINA 1. The World of Invisible
pray you from my heart not to consider this letter lightly. With a hundred salutations." Enclosed with this letter was a poem written in most elegant language. "O thou Supreme God and most precious Father, The truth above all religions, The Ruler of all animate and inanimate worlds! Greater than wisdom, separated from birth and death, Is his son Christ the Lord shining in glory among endless beings. Incomprehensible wonder, miraculously made! In this teaching I myself also believe—As your
Knowledge and Sympathy These questions make it plain that the worker who is to deal with Buddhists should have a broad background of general culture. He must be thoroughly humanized. He should have a good knowledge of the history of philosophy and religion, including the work of the modern philosophers. A knowledge of the life of Buddha and of the doctrines of the Hînayâna or Southern Buddhism, as well as the tenets of the Mahayâna should be in his possession. The psychology of religion should
Christianity must likewise seep through into the very thought of Asia and inspire the new art, literature and morality which will be the world expression of a Christian universe. 5. Emphasis on the Social Elements in Christianity To the aesthetic and mystical emphasis must be attached a social emphasis. Buddhism is often criticized as not being social. It is a highly socialized religion. It has had a large influence upon social life in the East. This social life is different from ours. We see
Buddhism. For Buddhism proper, see Vol. VI, pp. 89-233. 10. EDKINS, J. Chinese Buddhism. 2d edition. London, Trübner, 1893. A very full account of Buddhism as seen by a Sinologue of the last generation. 11. EITEL, E. J. Buddhism: Its Historical, Theoretical and Popular Aspects. Hongkong, Lane, Crawford and Co., 1884. Written by an observant scholar and descriptive of Buddhism of South China especially. 12. —— Handbook of Chinese Buddhism. Presbyterian Mission Press, Shanghai. This is a