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Questions 1: How did Buddhism come to China and what factors led to its success in penetrating China? Look at specific periods and people who were crucial in the spread of Buddhism in China. How did Buddhism change China and how did China change Buddhism?
The penetration of Buddhism into China began during the first century CE when missionaries coming from India and Central Asia started streaming into the middle kingdom of China. These people brought to the Chinese exotic texts and teachings, language, clothing and customs. This religion spread first because people were not coerced or forced by military conquests, they embraced it on their own free will. But the most contributing factor to its fast penetration was its apprehension by the Chinese rulers who saw it as a religion of a powerful god that brought good fortune. They therefore gave it full support in terms of imperial patronage. The Buddhist revelation of a totally new spiritual world that was not offered by the traditional Taoism and Confucianism was the major factor that attracted the Chinese to Buddhism. And on top of these, China was able to ‘sinify’ it by fusing the Taoist and Confucian thoughts with it. Such movements were so strong especially during the Sung dynasty in that Zhang Cai, a famous Chinese philosopher managed to synthesize the thoughts of the three schools (Rajan, 2009).
Several Indian monks contributed to the spread of Buddhism in China, these included Kumarajiva, Bodhi Dharma and Kashyapa Matanga. Also Chinese travelers like Xuan Zang, Fa Xian and Yi Jing contributed a lot. China’s civilization has been greatly enriched by spiritual gains from Buddhism. Through Buddhism, astronomy and sugar technology was introduced to China and in return, China introduced the art of pottery to India (Rajan, 2009).
Question 2: Compare and contrast the role and success of Christianity in feudal Japan and in Ming early-Qing China. How did the religion spread? What made it successful or unsuccessful in each country? In which country did Christianity have the greater degree of success?
The introduction of Christianity in Japan was first experienced in the mid of the 16th century. The first Jesuit missionary to arrive in Japan was Francis Xavier in 1579. History has it that after 30 years Japanese Christians had increased to 100,000. However it was abolished durin the Tokugawa period, and by 1614 the religion was completely eradicated from Japan. This stopped its spread in Japan for many years until the 19th century when Christians were once more allowed to enter Japan. Religious sanctions were withdrawn but still the freedom to religion was not out rightly granted. Some rules and beliefs in the bible seemed to conflict with the Japanese traditions and this made it difficult for the people to follow and adhere to the Christian teachings. This was enhanced by the fact that many of the Japanese had a firm belief in Buddhism and Shinto which had existed for many years in the history of Japan. So in essence the future of Christianity in Japan is decaying. Traditional culture, group allegiance and national uniformity make it difficult for Christianity to flourish in Japan (Smitha, 2001)
Christianity in China just like in Japan faces the same problems largely from Buddhism. This however does not compare with the experiences that Christian crusaders came across in China especially during the Ming and early Qing dynasties. It was an inspiring and fascinating period to them. They managed to make contact between two entirely different civilizations that had developed independently. Missionaries in China, despite few harassment and occasional persecutions, enjoyed unexpected popularity. Many missionaries the likes of Xavier wished to visit China but never made it but their wishes never died. The next two hundred years saw almost 1000 missionaries spreading Christianity to the Chinese populous. Among them were; Giulio Aleni, Nicolas Longbardi, Adam Schall to name just but a few. This acceptance of a foreign religion in a region dominated by Confucian beliefs came as a surprise to many including the missionaries themselves. In short, the spread of Christianity was a success in China but a failure in Japan (Chen & Chang, 2004).
Question 3: What is sinicization? How did it affect the Liao, Jin, Mongol, and Qing dynasties in China? When and how did it affect Korea and Japan?
Sinicization also called sinification is basically language or cultural assimilation. It is specifically used to mean the assimilation of the Chinese language and culture by the non-Chinese groups. It is the process of becoming Chinese or Han. Many communities that came to china many years ago were mostly nomads, they there found Chinese writings, culture and languuage every where they went. They there found themselves over time doing what the Chinese did. The Mongols for instance employed the Chinese fighting and defense methods that they effectively perfected and nowadays use them against their enemies. Many countries neighboring China such as Korea and Japan practice Chinese customs like eating rice, the use of chopsticks for eating and practicing Chinese religions. The Kanji writing system of the Japanese was borrowed from the Chinese (Bakhit, 2000).
Question 4: Your friend (roommate, spouse) is confused about the differences between China, Korea, and Japan. Using this course as your basis, explain to him or her in historical terms how these three countries differed over time and how they also came to share a common culture.Bottom of Form
Korea has had a number of dynasties for many years, the two main ones being the Koryo and the Chosun. The Chosun dynasty fell when Korea was invaded by Japan in 1910. This went on for 35 good years. After liberating itself from Japan, there followed an internal war that saw it being divided into two, the North and the South. Japan on the other hand periods such as the Nara and the Heian which were followed by the Tokugawa period in which it started developing itself as a world power. It later established itself as an imperial power by seizing other countries such as Korea, Mongolia Taiwan, but this was short lived as it was defeated during the World War II. It managed to pull itself from this and it is still a world power up to now. China on the other hand is the oldest continuous major world civilization. Its many dynasties evolved an elaborate system of bureaucratic control that gave it an upper hand over her neighbors. Other tribes that tried to conquer it found themselves being assimilated into the Chinese culture thus strengthening it. All these three countries share some religious beliefs. For instance Buddhism and Confucianism from China have been tightly upheld by the Koreans. Shinto, Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism and Christianity are practiced in Japan just as in China. All these country practice the Chinese culture. This involves similarities in language, eating habits, similarities in education for instance the Japanese system of writing, the Kanji, was borrowed from China. Koreans speak their own language called the Hangul while Japanese has evolved from the many Chinese dialects (Vay, 1906).
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