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Chinese History - Sui Period Religion

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After three hundred years of disunion the Sui Dynasty reunited northern and southern China, and traditions that had developed their own shapes and appearance, found together. Southern and northern traditions and styles of philosophy, literature, language, music, arts, and so on, started to merge and united two hitherto separated traditions to one new. While in the southern Buddhism for example laid more stress on principles and rituals, in the north a more intuitive approach to Buddhism was prevalent, crystallizing in the foundation of the Chan Sect 禪宗. A person who assembled the two traditions was Zhiyi 智顗 who founded the Tiantai School 天台宗.
Although the emperor of the unified China relied on Confucian scholars as his governmental elite and to have a foundation of his rulership as Heaven appointed emperor, Yang Jian was also a great protector and sponsor of Buddhism. He did this partly because Buddhism was already widespread in all social classes at the end of the 6th century, and to win the support of the whole population, he had especially to rely on Buddhists. He had established temples at the foot of the five sacred mountains of Chinese religious faith, the Taishan 泰山/Shandong, Huashan 華山/Shaanxi, Hengshan 衡山/Hunan, Hengshan 恒山/Shanxi and Songshan 嵩山/Henan and had constructed national temples in every prefecture. The emperor owned his political rise to the Buddhist dharma and was himself as an incarnation of a disciple of the Buddha. With his sponsorship of Buddhism, Wendi emulated the example of the famous Indian king Ashoka, erecting thousands of stupas and pagodas. During the 6th century, Buddhism as an impressive state religion gained broad attention by Korean and Japanese rulers.

2000 ff. © Ulrich Theobald · Mail

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