Check out these 10 Interesting Facts about Buddhism in China. How many of these do you already know?
1. Buddhism (Fo Jiao in Chinese) was founded in India by Siddhartha Garutama (563 to 483 BC) and he was called Buddha after he achieved enlightenment.
2. Buddhism first came to China in the Han Dynasty when the Buddhist monks (missionaries) from India made their way across the overland routes of Silk Road into China. Since Buddhism was introduced to China, Buddhist ideas and practices have shaped Chinese culture in many different ways, such as art, politics, literature, philosophy and even medicine.
3. When Buddhism was first introduced to China, China had a lot of small kingdoms, and there was not any organized opposition to the new religion.
4. The religion gained the interest of the Emperor Ming of Han, and he established the White Horse Temple (Baima Si, the first Buddhist temple in China) in 68 AD.
5. During the early Tang Dynasty, in the 600s AD, the monk Xuanzang journey to India and visited over one hundred kingdoms, and wrote extensive and detailed reports of his findings. Xuanzang also returned with relics, statues, and Buddhist paraphernalia. With the emperor’s support, he set up a large translation bureau in Chang An (present-day Xi An). Also, there were a number of schools that taught and promoted Buddhism.
6. In China, some Buddhist men and women left their jobs and their families in order to live in Buddhist monasteries as monks or nuns.
7. In China, Buddhism gradually got stronger and stronger while it was losing ground in India.
8. Today, there are over 365 million people practicing Buddhism worldwide, and China has over 100 million practicing Buddhism, which is the number one country for Buddhism.
9. One of the most popular figures in Chinese Buddhism in the Bodhisattva Guanyin (she is the one who perceives the laments of the world-Guanshiyin).
10. Over its long history, Buddhism has different forms, ranging from an emphasis of religious rituals and the worship of deities, to a complete opposition of both rituals and deities in favor of merely meditation. Yet, all forms of Buddhism share respect for the teachings of the Buddha (the enlightened one).