If There are so Many Views Concerning the First Introduction of Buddhism into China, Why is it Widely Held to Have been at the Time of the Emperor Ming of Han Dynasty and his Search for Dhamma?

发布日期:2017-11-29   字体大小:   

According to historical records, in the 7th year of the Yongping Era (64 AD), the emperor Ming of the Han Dynasty sent twelve emissaries to the Western Regions in search of the Buddha Dhamma. In 67 AD, they returned to Luoyang together with two Indian monks, Kasyapa-matanga and Dharmaranya and also brought scriptures and statues of the Buddha back with them. They began to translate parts of Buddhist scriptures. One of these translations is believed to be the existing Sutta of Forty-two Chapters, an abridged version of the Agama. At the same time, the first Buddhist temple in China was built in capital that is the Baima (White Horse) Temple, which is still standing today. It was named after the white horse that carried the scriptures and statues of the Buddha to China at that time. In view of this tradition, even if the introduction of Buddhism into China predate the Emperor Ming of Han Dynasty, it can be said that Buddhism as a religion was first accepted and upheld by the royal court and began to lay its foundations in scale in China during the Emperor Ming’s reign. In 73 AD, Ban Chao was sent as an envoy to the Western Regions, afterwards 36 kingdoms of this area were subjugated and communication with the Western Regions was made easy. Zhang Heng (78-139 AD), the famous scientist and writer at that time, mentioned “Sangmen” in his work Ode to the Western Capital, which shows that the presence of Buddhist monks had already become a social phenomenon, attracting the attention of men of letters and learned scholars. (From Essentials of Buddhism: Questions and Answers)

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