Buddhists take refuge in the Three Jewels or Triple Gem. The Three Jewels are: the Buddha, the enlightened one the Dharma, the teachings expounded by the Buddha the Sangha, the monastic order of Buddhism that practice the DharmaRefuge is common to all major schools of Buddhism. Pali texts employ the Brahmanical motif of a group of three refuges, as found in Rig Veda 9.97.47, Rig Veda 6.46.9 and Chandogya Upanishad 2.22.3-4. Faith is an important teaching element in both Mahayana traditions. In contrast to perceived Western notions of faith, faith in Buddhism arises from accumulated experience and reasoning. In the Kalama Sutra, the Buddha explicitly argues against following authority or tradition those of religions contemporary to the Buddha's time. There remains value for a degree of trusting confidence and belief in Buddhism in the spiritual attainment and salvation or enlightenment. Faith in Buddhism centres on belief in the Three Jewels. Lay followers undertake five precepts in the same ceremony as they take the refuges.
Monks administer the precepts to the laypeople. The five precepts are: to refrain from killing. In Early Buddhist Texts, the role of the five precepts developed. First of all, the precepts were combined with a declaration of faith in the triple gem. Next, the precepts developed to become the foundation of lay practice; the precepts were seen a preliminary condition for the higher development of the mind. At a third stage in the texts, the precepts were mentioned together with the triple gem, as though they were part of it. Lastly, the precepts, together with the triple gem, became a required condition for the practice of Buddhism, as lay people had to undergo a formal initiation to become a member of the Buddhist religion; when Buddhism spread to different places and people, the role of the precepts began to vary. In countries in which Buddhism was adopted as the main religion without much competition from other religious disciplines, such as Thailand, the relation between the initiation of a lay person and the five precepts has been non-existent, the taking of the precepts has become a sort of ritual cleansing ceremony.
In such countries, people are presumed Buddhist from birth without much of an initiation. The precepts are committed to by new followers as part of their installment, yet this is not pronounced. However, in some countries like China, where Buddhism was not the only religion, the precepts became an ordination ceremony to initiate lay people into the Buddhist religion. A layperson who upholds the precepts is described in the texts as a "jewel among laymen". In Tibetan Buddhism there are three refuge formulations, the Outer and Secret forms of the Three Jewels. The'Outer' form is the'Triple Gem', the'Inner' is the Three Roots and the'Secret' form is the'Three Bodies' or trikaya of a Buddha; these alternative refuge formulations are employed by those undertaking Deity Yoga and other tantric practices within the Tibetan Buddhist Vajrayana tradition as a means of recognizing Buddha Nature. Three refuge motivation levels are: 1) suffering rebirth's fear motivates with the idea of happiness, 2) knowing rebirth won’t bring freedoms motivated by attaining nirvana, while 3) seeing other’s suffering motivates establishing them all in Buddhahood.
Happiness is temporary, lifetimes are impermanent and refuge is taken until reaching unsurpassed awakening. Abhijñā Anussati Dharmapala Holy Spirit Pure land Titiksha Trikaya A Buddhist View on Refuge Refuge: A Safe and Meaningful Direction in Life by Dr. Alexander Berzin Refuge Vows Taking the refuges and precepts online by Bhikkhu Samahita Vajrayana refuge prayer audio The Threefold Refuge Five Precepts Abhisanda Sutta Saranagamana Going for Refuge and Taking the Precepts by Bhikkhu Bodhi Refuge: An Introduction to the Buddha and Sangha by Thanissaro Bhikkhu Refuge Tree Thangkas by Dharmapala Thangka Centre Ceremony for Taking Refuge and Precepts by Ven. Thubten Chodron The three jewels of Buddhism in relation to Anthroposophy. By Bruce Kirchoff
Tibetan Buddhist canon
The Tibetan Buddhist canon is a loosely defined list of sacred texts recognized by various sects of Tibetan Buddhism. In addition to sutrayana texts from Early Buddhist and Mahayana sources, the Tibetan canon includes tantric texts; the Tibetan Canon underwent a final compilation in the 14th century by Buton Rinchen Drub. The Tibetans did not have a formally arranged Mahayana canon and so devised their own scheme which divided texts into two broad categories: Kangyur or "Translated Words or Vacana", consists of works supposed to have been said by the Buddha himself. All texts have a Sanskrit original, although in many cases the Tibetan text was translated from Chinese or other languages. Tengyur or "Translated Treatises or Shastras", is the section to which were assigned commentaries and abhidharma works; the Tengyur contains 3626 texts in 224 Volumes. The Kangyur is divided into sections on Vinaya, Perfection of Wisdom Sutras, Avatamsaka and other sutras, tantras; when the term Kangyur was first used is not known.
Collections of canonical Buddhist texts existed in the time of Trisong Detsen, the sixth king of Tibet. The exact number of texts in the Kangyur is not fixed; each editor takes responsibility for removing texts he considers spurious or adding new translations. There are about 12 available Kangyurs; these include the Derge, Narthang, Peking, Urga and Stog Palace versions, each named after the physical location of its printing. In addition, some canonical texts have been found in Tabo and Dunhuang which provide earlier exemplars to texts found in the Kangyur; the majority of extant Kangyur editions appear to stem from the so-called Old Narthang Kangyur, though the Phukdrak and Tawang editions are thought to lie outside of that textual lineage. The stemma of the Kangyur have been well researched in particular by Paul Harrison. From the seventh century onward, existing literature were compiled and catalogued from time to time which extended, classified and put in different sets of different collections.
A separate set of translation works was re-grouped into two major collections popularly known as bka’-’gyur and bstan-’gyur, translation of Buddha’s discourses and translation of commentarial works respectively. The first Tibetan catalogue was introduced during the period of the 39th Tibetan King khri-lde srong-btsen known as sad-na legs-mjing-gyon, who issued decrees “requiring all translation works that were extant in Tibetan from their Indian original to be catalogued and subjected to be recurrently reviewed and to set guidelines of terminology in order to standardize all translation works”. A team of Indian and Tibetan scholars was assigned for the purpose; as a major step in this remarkable attempt at literary standardization, the bi-lingual glossary known as the Mahavyutpatti was accomplished in the Tibetan horse year. Another great achievement was the cataloguing of the collections available in royal libraries of the three famous Tibetan palaces under the supervision of the famous translator Bande sKa-ba dpal-brtsegs with help from his colleagues, Bande chos-kyi snying-po, Lo-tsa-wa Bande debendhara, Bande lhun-po and Bande klu’-dbang-po etc.
The earliest catalogue compilation was recorded from the manuscript of the royal collection housed in the palace- pho-brang ‘phang-thang ka-med kyi gtsug-lag-kang in the Tibetan dog year. This cataloguing work known as dkar-chag phang-thang-ma. Soon afterwards two further catalogues of collections available in two other royal libraries- pho-brang bsam-yas mchims-phu-ma and pho-brang stong-thang ldan-dkar were compiled and came to be known as dkar-chag mchims-phu-ma and dkar-chag ldan-dkar-ma respectively. Dkar-chag ldan-dkar-ma was compiled in the dragon year. Among these three catalogues, ldan-dkar-ma, included in the volume Jo of sna-tsogs in sde-ge bka’-bstan, is believed to be the only surviving so far, but a manuscript of dkar-chag phang-thang-ma is discovered and published from Tibet. It contains 961 titles listed under 34 subject headings with additional information of numbers of verses that contains in each text; the ldan-dkar-ma catalogue listed under a category of 27 subject headings.
An interesting unique feature of Tibetan catalogue is that, alongside information about the source material of translation and the bibliographical details, it gives in physical descriptions, such as the nos. of words, verses and folios-pages in each of textual contents. Thus today we have a record of 73 million words contained in the bka’-’gyur & bstan-’gyur collection. According to the latest edition of Dharma Publication, the bKa’-‘gyur contains 1,115 texts, spread over 65,420 Tibetan folios amounting to 450,000 lines or 25 million words; the bsTan-'gyur contains 3,387 texts using 127,000 folios amounting to 850,000 lines and 48 millions words. The sum total of both these collections is 4,502 texts in 73 millions words. By fixing bampo to verses and to words of each of the textual contents, the individual works are interpolation and alteration; this further strengthened the authenticity of Tibetan Buddhist literature. These are the first Tibetan catalogues in three versions that were compiled and published in the beginning of the ninth century by the great sgra-sgyur gyi lo-tsa-wa Bande sKa-ba dpal-brtsegs and his team.
Tibet, becomes the earliest to accomplish catalogue as inventory i
Four Noble Truths
In Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths are "the truths of the Noble Ones", the truths or realities for the "spiritually worthy ones". The truths are: dukkha is an innate characteristic of existence with each rebirth, they are traditionally identified as the first teaching given by the Buddha, considered one of the most important teachings in Buddhism. The four truths appear in many grammatical forms in the ancient Buddhist texts, they have both a symbolic and a propositional function. Symbolically, they represent the awakening and liberation of the Buddha, of the potential for his followers to reach the same religious experience as him; as propositions, the Four Truths are a conceptual framework that appear in the Pali canon and early Hybrid Sanskrit Buddhist scriptures. They are a part of the broader "network of teachings", they provide a conceptual framework for introducing and explaining Buddhist thought, which has to be understood or "experienced". As a proposition, the four truths defy an exact definition, but refer to and express the basic orientation of Buddhism: unguarded sensory contact gives rise to craving and clinging to impermanent states and things, which are dukkha, "incapable of satisfying" and painful.
This craving keeps us caught in samsara, the endless cycle of repeated rebirth, the continued dukkha that comes with it. There is a way to end this cycle, namely by attaining nirvana, cessation of craving, whereafter rebirth and the accompanying dukkha will no longer arise again; this can be accomplished by following the eightfold path, confining our automatic responses to sensory contact by restraining oneself, cultivating discipline and wholesome states, practicing mindfulness and dhyana. The function of the four truths, their importance, developed over time and the Buddhist tradition recognized them as the Buddha's first teaching; this tradition was established when prajna, or "liberating insight", came to be regarded as liberating in itself, instead of or in addition to the practice of dhyana. This "liberating insight" gained a prominent place in the sutras, the four truths came to represent this liberating insight, as a part of the enlightenment story of the Buddha; the four truths grew to be of central importance in the Theravada tradition of Buddhism by about the 5th-century CE, which holds that the insight into the four truths is liberating in itself.
They are less prominent in the Mahayana tradition, which sees the higher aims of insight into sunyata and following the Bodhisattva path as central elements in their teachings and practice. The Mahayana tradition reinterpreted the four truths to explain how a liberated being can still be "pervasively operative in this world". Beginning with the exploration of Buddhism by western colonialists in the 19th century and the development of Buddhist modernism, they came to be presented in the west as the central teaching of Buddhism, sometimes with novel modernistic reinterpretations different from the historic Buddhist traditions in Asia; the four truths are best known from their presentation in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta text, which contains two sets of the four truths, while various other sets can be found in the Pali Canon, a collection of scriptures in the Theravadan Buddhist tradition. The full set, most used in modern expositions, contains grammatical errors, pointing to multiple sources for this set and translation problems within the ancient Buddhist community.
They were considered correct by the Pali tradition, which didn't correct them. According to the Buddhist tradition, the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, "Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion", contains the first teachings that the Buddha gave after attaining full awakening, liberation from rebirth. According to L. S. Cousins, many scholars are of the view that "this discourse was identified as the first sermon of the Buddha only at a date," and according to professor of religion Carol S. Anderson the four truths may not have been part of this sutta, but were added in some versions. Within this discourse, the four noble truths are given as follows: Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering. Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the origin of suffering: it is this craving which leads to re-becoming, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there. Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering: it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, non-reliance on it.
Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering: it is this noble eightfold path. According to this sutra, with the complete comprehension of these four truths release from samsara, the cycle of rebirth, was attain
The Dhamma Chakra is a symbol from ancient India and one of the Ashtamangala of Hinduism, Buddhism. The Dhamma wheel symbol has represented Buddhism, Gautama Buddha's teachings and his walking of the path to Enlightenment since the time of early Buddhism; the symbol is connected to the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. The Sanskrit noun dharma is a derivation from the root dhṛ, which has a meaning of "to hold, keep", takes a meaning of "what is established or firm", hence "law", it is derived from the Vedic Sanskrit n-stem dharman- with the meaning "bearer, supporter" in the historical Vedic religion conceived of as an aspect of Ṛta. The wheel is the main attribute of Vishnu, the Vedic god of preservation. Madhavan and Parpola note Chakra sign appears in Indus Valley civilization, on several seals. Notably, in a sequence of ten signs on the Dholavira signboard, four are the chakra. Common Dharmachakra symbols consist of either 24 spokes. In Unicode, as emoji: ☸️; the Buddha described the 24 qualities of ideal Buddhist followers, represented by the 24 spokes of the Ashoka Chakra which represent 24 qualities of a Santani: Also an integral part of the emblem is the motto inscribed below the abacus in Devanagari script: Satyameva Jayate.
This is a quote from the concluding part of the sacred Hindu Vedas. In the Bhagavad Gita too, verses 14, 15 and 16, of Chapter 3 speaks about the revolving wheel thus: "From food, the beings are born; the one who does not follow the wheel thus revolving, leads a sinful, vain life, rejoicing in the senses." The Dharmachakra is one of the ashtamangala of Buddhism. It is one of the oldest known Buddhist symbols found in Indian art, appearing with the first surviving post-Indus Valley Civilization Indian iconography in the time of the Buddhist king Ashoka; the Buddha is said to have set the dhammacakka in motion when he delivered his first sermon, described in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta. The wheel itself depicts ideas about the cycle of saṃsāra and furthermore the Noble Eightfold Path. Buddhism adopted the wheel as the main symbol of the chakravartin "wheel-turner", the ideal king or "universal monarch", symbolising the ability to cut through all obstacles and illusions. According to Harrison, the symbolism of "the wheel of the law" and the order of Nature is visible in the Tibetan prayer wheels.
The moving wheels symbolize the movement of cosmic order. The image, having been found in antiquity is referred to as Rimbo is an accepted symbol used in Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, first Vice President of India has stated that the Ashoka Chakra of India represents the Dharmachakra. In the Vishnu Purana and Bhagavata Purana, two kings named Jadabharata of the Hindu solar and lunar dynasties are referred to as "Chakravartins". Jagdish Chandra Jain referred to this icon in Kalinga. In Jainism, the Dharmachakra is worshipped as a symbol of the dharma. Other "chakras" appear in other Indian traditions, e.g. Vishnu's Sudarśanacakra, a wheel-shaped weapon; the former Flag of Sikkim featured a version of the dharmachakra. Thai people use a yellow flag with a red dhammacakka as their Buddhist flag; the emblem of Mongolia includes a dharmachakra together with some other Buddhist attributes such as the padma, cintamani, a blue khata and the Soyombo symbol. The dharmachakra is the insignia for Buddhist chaplains in the United States Armed Forces.
In non-Buddhist cultural contexts, an eight-spoked dharmachakra resembles a traditional ship's wheel. As a nautical emblem, this image is a common sailor tattoo. In the Unicode computer standard, the dharmachakra is called the "Wheel of Dharma" and found in the eight-spoked form, it is represented as U+2638. In Falun Gong or Falun Dafa, the Fǎlún is described as “an intelligent, rotating entity composed of high-energy matter.” Practitioners of Falun Gong cultivate this Law Wheel, which rotates in the lower abdomen, the same focal point described as Lower Dāntián. Dorothy C. Donath. Buddhism for the West: Theravāda, Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna. Julian Press. ISBN 0-07-017533-0. Media related to Dharmacakra at Wikimedia CommonsBuddhist Wheel Symbol
Buddhist monasticism is one of the earliest surviving forms of organized monasticism in the history of religion. It is one of the most fundamental institutions of Buddhism. Monks and nuns are considered to be responsible for the preservation and dissemination of the Buddha's teaching and the guidance of Buddhist lay people; the order of Buddhist monks and nuns was founded by Gautama Buddha during his lifetime between the fifth and fourth centuries BC. The Buddhist monastic lifestyle grew out of the lifestyle of earlier sects of wandering ascetics, some of whom the Buddha had studied under, it was not isolationist or eremetic: the sangha was dependent on the lay community for basic provisions of food and clothing, in return sangha members helped guide lay followers on the path of Dharma. Individuals or small groups of monks – a teacher and his students, or several monks who were friends – traveled together, living on the outskirts of local communities and practicing meditation in the forests.
Monks and nuns were expected to live with a minimum of possessions, which were to be voluntarily provided by the lay community. Lay followers provided the daily food that monks required, provided shelter for monks when they were needed; some Buddhist schools assert that during the Buddha's time, many retreats and gardens were donated by wealthy citizens for monks and nuns to stay in during the rainy season. Out of this tradition grew two kinds of living arrangements for monastics, as detailed in the Mahavagga section of the Vinaya and Varsavastu texts: avāsā: a temporary house for monastics called a vihara. More than one monk stayed in each house with each monk in his own cell, called a parivena. Ārāma: a more permanent and more comfortable arrangement than the avasa. This property was donated and maintained by a wealthy citizen; this was more lavish. It consisted of residences within orchards or parks. One of the more famous Arama is Anathapindika's, known as Anathapindikassa arame, built on Prince Jeta's grove.
It had buildings worth 1.8 million gold pieces built in a beautiful grove, with the total gift worth 5.4 million gold pieces. After the parinirvana of the Buddha, the Buddhist monastic order developed into a cenobitic movement; the practice of living communally during the rainy vassa season, prescribed by the Buddha grew to encompass a settled monastic life centered on life in a community of practitioners. Most of the modern disciplinary rules followed by monks and nuns—the Patimokkha—relate to such an existing, prescribing in great detail proper methods for living and relating in a community of monks or nuns; the number of rules observed. There are a larger number of rules specified for bhikkhunis. Buddhism has no central authority, therefore many different varieties of practice and philosophy have developed over its history, including among monastic communities, sometimes leading to schisms in the sangha; the information presented here, unless otherwise noted, characterises only certain Buddhist monks who follow the most strict regulations of the'Southern Schools' tradition.
The oldest existing set of texts concerning a Buddhist form of life are those of the Pāli Canon. Although no copy of these texts comes from the time of the Buddha, because of its relative age the Pāli Canon is used by some monastic communities to define their conduct and identity. In some schools of Buddhism, notably those lineages in South East Asia that compose Theravada, the Buddhist monastic community is theoretically divided into two assemblies, the male bhikkhu assembly, the female bhikkhuni assembly. According to some stories, although his followers consisted only of men, the Buddha recognized women as followers after his stepmother, asked for and received permission to live as an ordained practitioner; the Buddha's disciple Ananda insisted on including female order. Female monastic communities in the bhikkhuni lineage were never established in the Vajrayana communities of Tibet and Nepal. Ordination in the bhikkhuni lineage continues to exist among East Asian communities, attempts have been made at a revival in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka.
Such divisions are more made in the Northern schools, or in the West. Monks and nuns are expected to fulfill a variety of roles in the Buddhist community. First and foremost, they are expected to preserve the discipline now known as Buddhism, they are expected to provide a living example for the laity, to serve as a "field of merit" for lay followers, providing laymen and women with the opportunity to earn merit by giving gifts and support to the monks. In return for the support of the laity and nuns are expected to live an austere life focused on the study of Buddhist doctrine, the practice of meditation, the observance of good moral character; the relative degree of emphasis on meditation or study has been debated in the Buddhist community. Many continued to keep a relationship with their original families. A Bhikkhu or Bhikkhuni first ordains as a Samanera for a year or more. There are some conditions which must be met in order to be allowed into Buddhist monaticism, such as age between 7 and 70 and haven't broken sīla in some manners when undertaking them.
Male novices ordain at a young age, but no younger than 8. Women choose to orda
Buddhist philosophy refers to the philosophical investigations and systems of inquiry that developed among various Buddhist schools in India following the death of the Buddha and spread throughout Asia. The Buddhist path combines meditation; the Buddhist traditions present a multitude of Buddhist paths to liberation, Buddhist thinkers in India and subsequently in East Asia have covered topics as varied as phenomenology, ontology, epistemology and philosophy of time in their analysis of these paths. Early Buddhism was based on empirical evidence gained by the sense organs and the Buddha seems to have retained a skeptical distance from certain metaphysical questions, refusing to answer them because they were not conducive to liberation but led instead to further speculation. A recurrent theme in Buddhist philosophy has been the reification of concepts, the subsequent return to the Buddhist Middle Way. Particular points of Buddhist philosophy have been the subject of disputes between different schools of Buddhism.
These elaborations and disputes gave rise to various schools in early Buddhism of Abhidharma, to the Mahayana traditions and schools of the prajnaparamita, Buddha-nature and Yogacara. Edward Conze splits the development of Indian Buddhist philosophy into three phases; the first phase concerns questions of the original doctrines derived from oral traditions that originated during the life of the Buddha, are common to all sects of Buddhism. The second phase concerns Hinayana "scholastic" Buddhism, as evident in the Abhidharma texts beginning in the third century BCE that feature scholastic reworking and schematic classification of material in the sutras; the third phase of development of Indian Buddhist philosophy concerns Mahayana "metaphysical" Buddhism, beginning in the late first century CE, which emphasizes monastic life and the path of a bodhisattva. Various elements of these three phases are incorporated and/or further developed in the philosophy and world view of the various sects of Buddhism that emerged.
Philosophy in India was aimed at spiritual liberation and had soteriological goals. In his study of Mādhyamaka Buddhist philosophy in India, Peter Deller Santina writes: Attention must first of all be drawn to the fact that philosophical systems in India were if purely speculative or descriptive. All the great philosophical systems of India: Sāṅkhya, Advaitavedānta, Mādhyamaka and so forth, were preeminently concerned with providing a means to liberation or salvation, it was a tacit assumption with these systems that if their philosophy were understood and assimilated, an unconditioned state free of suffering and limitation could be achieved. If this fact is overlooked, as happens as a result of the propensity engendered by formal Occidental philosophy to consider the philosophical enterprise as a purely descriptive one, the real significance of Indian and Buddhist philosophy will be missed. For the Indian Buddhist philosophers, the teachings of the Buddha were not meant to be taken on faith alone, but to be confirmed by logical analysis of the world.
The early Buddhist texts mention that a person becomes a follower of the Buddha's teachings after having pondered them over with wisdom and the gradual training requires that a disciple “investigate” and “scrutinize” the teachings. The Buddha expected his disciples to approach him as a teacher in a critical fashion and scrutinize his actions and words, as shown in the Vīmaṃsaka Sutta. Scholarly opinion varies; the Buddha was a north Indian sramana from Magadha. He cultivated various yogic techniques and ascetic practices and taught throughout north India, where his teachings took hold; these teachings are preserved in the Pali Nikayas and in the Agamas as well as in other surviving fragmentary textual collections. Dating these texts is difficult, there is disagreement on how much of this material goes back to a single religious founder. While the focus of the Buddha's teachings are about attaining the highest good of nirvana, they contain an analysis of the source of human suffering, the nature of personal identity, the process of acquiring knowledge about the world.
The Buddha defined his teaching as "the middle way". In the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, this is used to refer to the fact that his teachings steer a middle course between the extremes of asceticism and bodily denial and sensual hedonism or indulgence. Many sramanas of the Buddha's time placed much emphasis on a denial of the body, using practices such as fasting, to liberate the mind from the body; the Buddha however, realized that the mind was embodied and causally dependent on the body, therefore that a malnourished body did not allow the mind to be trained and developed. Thus, Buddhism's main concern is not with luxury or poverty, but instead with the human response to circumstances. Certain basic teachings appear in many places throughout these early texts, so older studies by various scholars conclude that the Buddha must at least have taught some of these key teachings: The Middle Way The four noble truths The Noble Eightfold Path Three marks of existence Five aggregates Dependent arising Karma and rebirth NirvanaCritical studies by Schmithausen, Bronkhorst and others have adjusted this list of basic teachings, revealed a more nuanced genesis of the Buddhist teachings.
According to Vetter, the description of the Buddhist path may have been as simple as the term "the middle way". In time, this short description was elaborated, resulting
Chinese Buddhism or Han Buddhism has shaped Chinese culture in a wide variety of areas including art, literature, philosophy and material culture. The translation of a large body of Indian Buddhist scriptures into Chinese and the inclusion of these translations together with works composed in China into a printed canon had far-reaching implications for the dissemination of Buddhism throughout the East Asian cultural sphere, including Korea, Japan and Vietnam. Chinese Buddhism is marked by the interaction between Indian religions, Chinese religion, Taoism. Various legends tell of the presence of Buddhism in Chinese soil in ancient times. Nonetheless, the scholarly consensus is that Buddhism first came to China in the first century CE during the Han dynasty, through missionaries from India. Generations of scholars have debated whether Buddhist missionaries first reached Han China via the maritime or overland routes of the Silk Road; the maritime route hypothesis, favored by Liang Qichao and Paul Pelliot, proposed that Buddhism was practiced in southern China, the Yangtze River and Huai River region, where prince Ying of Chu was jointly worshipping the Yellow Emperor and Buddha in 65 CE.
The overland route hypothesis, favored by Tang Yongtong, proposed that Buddhism disseminated through Central Asia – in particular, the Kushan Empire, known in ancient Chinese sources as Da Yuezhi, after the founding tribe. According to this hypothesis, Buddhism was first practiced in China in the Western Regions and the Han capital Luoyang, where Emperor Ming of Han established the White Horse Temple in 68 CE. In 2004, Rong Xinjiang, a history professor at Peking University, reexamined the overland and maritime hypotheses through a multi-disciplinary review of recent discoveries and research, including the Gandhāran Buddhist Texts, concluded: The view that Buddhism was transmitted to China by the sea route comparatively lacks convincing and supporting materials, some arguments are not sufficiently rigorous. Based on the existing historical texts and the archaeological iconographic materials discovered since the 1980s the first-century Buddhist manuscripts found in Afghanistan, the commentator believes that the most plausible theory is that Buddhism reached China from the Greater Yuezhi of northwest India and took the land route to reach Han China.
After entering into China, Buddhism blended with early Daoism and Chinese traditional esoteric arts and its iconography received blind worship. A number of popular accounts in historical Chinese literature have led to the popularity of certain legends regarding the introduction of Buddhism into China. According to the most popular one, Emperor Ming of Han precipitated the introduction of Buddhist teachings into China; the Mouzi Lihuolun first records this legend: In olden days Emperor Ming saw in a dream a god whose body had the brilliance of the sun and who flew before his palace. The next day he asked his officials: "What god is this?" the scholar Fu Yi said: "Your subject has heard it said that in India there is somebody who has attained the Dao and, called Buddha. The emperor sent an envoy to Tianzhu to inquire about the teachings of the Buddha. Buddhist scriptures were said to have been returned to China on the backs of white horses, after which White Horse Temple was named. Two Indian monks returned with them, named Dharmaratna and Kaśyapa Mātaṅga.
An 8th-century Chinese fresco at Mogao Caves near Dunhuang in Gansu portrays Emperor Wu of Han worshiping statues of a golden man. However, neither the Shiji nor Book of Han histories of Emperor Wu mentions a golden Buddhist statue; the first documented translation of Buddhist scriptures from various Indian languages into Chinese occurs in 148 CE with the arrival of the Parthian prince-turned-monk An Shigao. He worked to establish Buddhist temples in Luoyang and organized the translation of Buddhist scriptures into Chinese, testifying to the beginning of a wave of Central Asian Buddhist proselytism, to last several centuries. An Shigao translated Buddhist texts on basic doctrines and abhidharma. An Xuan, a Parthian layman who worked alongside An Shigao translated an early Mahāyāna Buddhist text on the bodhisattva path. Mahāyāna Buddhism was first propagated in China by the Kushan monk Lokakṣema, who came from the ancient Buddhist kingdom of Gandhāra. Lokakṣema translated important Mahāyāna sūtras such as the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra, as well as rare, early Mahāyāna sūtras on topics such as samādhi, meditation on the buddha Akṣobhya.
These translations from Lokakṣema continue to give insight into the early period of Mahāyāna Buddhism. This corpus of texts includes emphasizes ascetic practices and forest dwelling, absorption in states of meditative concentration: Paul Harrison has worked on some of the texts that are arguably the earliest versions we have of the Mahāyāna sūtras, those translated into Chinese in the last half of the second century CE by the Indo-Scythian translator Lokakṣema. Harrison points to the enthusiasm in the Lokakṣema sūtra corpus for the extra ascetic practices, for dwelling in the forest, above all for states of meditative absorption. Meditation and meditative states seem to have occupied a central place in early Mahāyāna because of their spiritual efficacy but a