Theravada Buddhism defines arhat as one who has gained insight into the true nature of existence and has achieved nirvana. Other Buddhist traditions have used the term for people far advanced along the path of Enlightenment, but who may not have reached full Buddhahood; the understanding of the concept has changed over the centuries, varies between different schools of Buddhism and different regions. A range of views on the attainment of arhats existed in the early Buddhist schools; the Sarvāstivāda, Kāśyapīya, Mahāsāṃghika, Ekavyāvahārika, Lokottaravāda, Bahuśrutīya, Prajñaptivāda, Caitika schools all regarded arhats as imperfect in their attainments compared to buddhas. Mahayana Buddhist teachings urge followers to take up the path of a bodhisattva, to not fall back to the level of arhats and śrāvakas; the arhats, or at least the senior arhats, came to be regarded as "moving beyond the state of personal freedom to join the Bodhisattva enterprise in their own way". Mahayana Buddhism regarded a group of Eighteen Arhats as awaiting the return of the Buddha as Maitreya, other groupings of 6, 8, 16, 100, 500 appear in tradition and Buddhist art in East Asia.
They can be seen as the Buddhist equivalents of the Christian saints, apostles or early disciples and leaders of the faith. Pāḷi arahant is a present participle coming from the verbal root √arh "to deserve", cf. arha "meriting, deserving". The word is used in the Ṛgveda with this sense of "deserving". A common folk etymology derives the word from ari and hanta from the root √han "to strike, to kill". Professor Richard Gombrich has argued that the present participle is "jarring" and seems out of place when there is an adjective from the same root. Since Jains used two Prakrit forms of the word arahanta and arihanta, the folk etymology may well be the correct etymology. Gombrich argues that this stems from the same metaphor as the Jain title jina "conqueror", whence jaina "related to the conqueror", i.e. Jainism; the term arhat is rendered in English as arahat. The term arhat was transliterated into some East Asian languages phonetically, for example, the Chinese āluóhàn shortened to luóhàn; this may appear in English as lohan.
In Japanese the pronunciation of the same Chinese characters is arakan. The Tibetan term for arhat was translated by meaning from Sanskrit; this translation, dgra bcom pa, means "one who has destroyed the foes of afflictions". Thus the Tibetan translators understood the meaning of arhat to be ari-hanta. A range of views on the attainment of arhats existed in the early Buddhist schools; the Sarvāstivāda, Kāśyapīya, Mahāsāṃghika, Ekavyāvahārika, Lokottaravāda, Bahuśrutīya, Prajñaptivāda and Caitika schools all regarded arhats as being imperfect in their attainments compared to buddhas. The Dharmaguptaka sect believed that "the Buddha and those of the Two Vehicles, although they have one and the same liberation, have followed different noble paths."The Mahīśāsaka and the Theravada regarded arhats and buddhas as being similar to one another. The 5th century Theravadin commentator Buddhaghosa regarded arhats as having completed the path to enlightenment. According to Bhikkhu Bodhi, the Pāli Canon portrays the Buddha declaring himself to be an arahant.
According to Bhikkhu Bodhi, nirvāṇa is "the ultimate goal", one who has attained nirvana has attained arahantship: Bhikkhu Bodhi writes, "The defining mark of an arahant is the attainment of nirvāṇa in this present life."The Mahayana discerned a hierarchy of attainments, with samyaksambuddhas at the top, mahāsattvas below that, pratyekabuddhas below that and arhats further below. "But what was it that distinguished the bodhisattva from the sravaka, the buddha from the arhat? The difference lay, more than anywhere else, in the altruistic orientation of the bodhisattva." In pre-Buddhist India, the term arhat, denoting a saintly person in general, was associated with miraculous power and asceticism. The Buddhists drew a sharp distinction between their Arhat and Indian holy men in general, in Buddhism these miraculous powers were no longer central to arhat identity or to his mission. A range of views on the relative perfection of arhats existed amongst the early Buddhist schools. In general, Mahāsāṃghikas such as the Ekavyāvahārikas, Lokottaravādins, Bahuśrutīyins, Prajñaptivādins, Caitikas schools, advocated the transcendental and supramundane nature of the buddhas and bodhisattvas and the fallibility of arhats.
The Caitikas, for example, advocated the ideal of the bodhisattva over that of the arhat, they viewed arhats as being fallible and still subject to ignorance. According to A. K. Warder, the Sarvāstivādins held the same position as the Mahāsāṃghika branch regarding arhats, considering them to be imperfect and fallible. In the Sarvāstivādin Nāgadatta Sūtra, the demon Māra takes the form of Nāgadatta's father, tries to convince Nāgadatta, a bhikṣuṇī, to work toward the lower stage of arhatship rather than striving to become a enlightened buddha. Māra therefore took the disguise of Nāgadatta's father and said thus to Nāgadatta: "Your thought is too serious. Buddhahood is too difficult to attain, it takes a hundred thousand nayutas of koṭis of kalpas to become a Buddha. Since few people attain Buddhahood in this world, why don't you attain Arhatship? For the experience of Arhatship is the same as that of nirvāṇa. In her reply, Nāgadatta rejects arhatship as a lower path, saying, "A Buddha's wisdom is l
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
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the condition or rank of a buddha "awakened one". The goal of Mahayana's bodhisattva path is Samyaksambuddhahood, so that one may benefit all sentient beings by teaching them the path of cessation of dukkha. Mahayana theory contrasts this with the goal of the Theravada path, where the goal is individual arhatship. In Theravada Buddhism, Buddha refers to one who has become awake through their own efforts and insight, without a teacher to point out the dharma. A samyaksambuddha re-discovered the truths and the path to awakening and teaches its to others after his awakening. A pratyekabuddha reaches Nirvana through his own efforts, but does not teach the dharma to others. An arhat needs to follow the teaching of a Buddha to attain Nirvana, but can preach the dharma after attaining Nirvana. In one instance the term buddha is used in Theravada to refer to all who attain Nirvana, using the term Sāvakabuddha to designate an arhat, someone who depends on the teachings of a Buddha to attain Nirvana.
In this broader sense it is equivalent to the arhat. Buddhahood is the state of an awakened being, who having found the path of cessation of dukkha is in the state of "No-more-Learning". There is a broad spectrum of opinion on the universality and method of attainment of Buddhahood, depending on Gautama Buddha's teachings that a school of Buddhism emphasizes; the level to which this manifestation requires ascetic practices varies from none at all to an absolute requirement, dependent on doctrine. Mahayana Buddhism emphasizes the bodhisattva ideal instead of the Arhat; the Tathagatagarba and Buddha-nature doctrines of Mahayana Buddhism consider Buddhahood to be a universal and innate property of absolute wisdom. This wisdom is revealed in a person's current lifetime through Buddhist practice, without any specific relinquishment of pleasures or "earthly desires". Buddhists do not consider Gautama to have been the only Buddha; the Pāli Canon refers to many previous ones, while the Mahayana tradition additionally has many Buddhas of celestial origin (see Amitābha or Vairocana as examples, for lists of many thousands of Buddha names.
The various Buddhist schools hold some varying interpretations on the nature of Buddha. All Buddhist traditions hold that a Buddha is awakened and has purified his mind of the three poisons of craving and ignorance. A Buddha is no longer bound by saṃsāra, has ended the suffering which unawakened people experience in life. Most schools of Buddhism have held that the Buddha was omniscient. However, the early texts contain explicit repudiations of making this claim of the Buddha; some Buddhists meditate on the Buddha as having ten characteristics. These characteristics are mentioned in the Pāli Canon as well as Mahayana teachings, are chanted daily in many Buddhist monasteries: Thus gone, thus come Worthy one Perfectly self-enlightened Perfected in knowledge and conduct Well gone Knower of the world Unsurpassed Leader of persons to be tamed Teacher of the gods and humans The Blessed One or fortunate one The tenth epithet is sometimes listed as "The World Honored Enlightened One" or "The Blessed Enlightened One".
In the Pāli Canon, Gautama Buddha is known as being a "teacher of the gods and humans", superior to both the gods and humans in the sense of having nirvana or the greatest bliss, whereas the devas, or gods, are still subject to anger and sorrow. In the Madhupindika Sutta, Buddha is described in powerful terms as the Lord of the Dhamma and the bestower of immortality. In the Anuradha Sutta Buddha is described as the Tathagata—the supreme man, the superlative man, attainer of the superlative attainment."And so, Anuradha—when you can't pin down the Tathagata as a truth or reality in the present life—is it proper for you to declare,'Friends, the Tathagata—the supreme man, the superlative man, attainer of the superlative attainment—being described, is described otherwise than with these four positions: The Tathagata exists after death, does not exist after death, both does & does not exist after death, neither exists nor does not exist after death'? In the Vakkali Sutta Buddha identifies himself with the Dhamma: O Vakkali, whoever sees the Dhamma, sees me Another reference from the Aggañña Sutta of the Digha Nikaya, says to his disciple Vasettha: O Vasettha!
The Word of Dhammakaya is indeed the name of the Tathagata Shravasti Dhammika, a Theravada monk, writes: In the centuries after his final Nibbāna it sometimes got to the stage that the legends and myths obscured the real human being behind them and the Buddha came to be looked upon as a god. The Buddha was a human being, not a'mere human being' as is sometimes said but a special class of human called a'complete person'; such complete persons are born no different from others and indeed they physically remain quite ordinary. Sangharakshita states that "The first thing we have to understand - and this is important - is that the Buddha is a human being, but a special kind of human being, in fact the highest kind, so fa
Gautama Buddha known as Siddhārtha Gautama in Sanskrit or Siddhattha Gotama in Pali, Shakyamuni Buddha, or the Buddha, after the title of Buddha, was a monk, sage, philosopher and religious leader on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. He is believed to have lived and taught in the northeastern part of ancient India sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. Gautama taught a Middle Way between sensual indulgence and the severe asceticism found in the śramaṇa movement common in his region, he taught throughout other regions of eastern India such as Magadha and Kosala. Gautama is the primary figure in Buddhism, he is believed by Buddhists to be an enlightened teacher who attained full Buddhahood and shared his insights to help sentient beings end rebirth and suffering. Accounts of his life and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarised after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition and first committed to writing about 400 years later.
Scholars are hesitant to make unqualified claims about the historical facts of the Buddha's life. Most people accept that the Buddha lived and founded a monastic order during the Mahajanapada era during the reign of Bimbisara, the ruler of the Magadha empire, died during the early years of the reign of Ajatasatru, the successor of Bimbisara, thus making him a younger contemporary of Mahavira, the Jain tirthankara. While the general sequence of "birth, renunciation, search and liberation, death" is accepted, there is less consensus on the veracity of many details contained in traditional biographies; the times of Gautama's birth and death are uncertain. Most historians in the early 20th century dated his lifetime as c. 563 BCE to 483 BCE. More his death is dated between 411 and 400 BCE, while at a symposium on this question held in 1988, the majority of those who presented definite opinions gave dates within 20 years either side of 400 BCE for the Buddha's death; these alternative chronologies, have not been accepted by all historians.
The evidence of the early texts suggests that Siddhārtha Gautama was born into the Shakya clan, a community, on the periphery, both geographically and culturally, of the eastern Indian subcontinent in the 5th century BCE. One of his usual names was "Sakamuni" or "Sakyamunī", it was either a small republic, or an oligarchy, his father was an elected chieftain, or oligarch. According to the Buddhist tradition, Gautama was born in Lumbini, now in modern-day Nepal, raised in the Shakya capital of Kapilvastu, which may have been either in what is present day Tilaurakot, Nepal or Piprahwa, India. According to Buddhist tradition, he obtained his enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, gave his first sermon in Sarnath, died in Kushinagar. Apart from the Vedic Brahmins, the Buddha's lifetime coincided with the flourishing of influential Śramaṇa schools of thought like Ājīvika, Cārvāka, Ajñana. Brahmajala Sutta records sixty-two such schools of thought. In this context, a śramaṇa refers to one who toils, or exerts themselves.
It was the age of influential thinkers like Mahavira, Pūraṇa Kassapa, Makkhali Gosāla, Ajita Kesakambalī, Pakudha Kaccāyana, Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta, as recorded in Samaññaphala Sutta, whose viewpoints the Buddha most must have been acquainted with. Indeed and Moggallāna, two of the foremost disciples of the Buddha, were the foremost disciples of Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta, the sceptic. There is philological evidence to suggest that the two masters, Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, were indeed historical figures and they most taught Buddha two different forms of meditative techniques. Thus, Buddha was just one of the many śramaṇa philosophers of that time. In an era where holiness of person was judged by their level of asceticism, Buddha was a reformist within the śramaṇa movement, rather than a reactionary against Vedic Brahminism; the life of the Buddha coincided with the Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley during the rule of Darius I from about 517/516 BCE. This Achaemenid occupation of the areas of Gandhara and Sindh, to last for about two centuries, was accompanied by the introduction of Achaemenid religions, reformed Mazdaism or early Zoroastrianism, to which Buddhism might have in part reacted.
In particular, the ideas of the Buddha may have consisted of a rejection of the "absolutist" or "perfectionist" ideas contained in these Achaemenid religions. No written records about Gautama were found from his lifetime or from the one or two centuries thereafter. In the middle of the 3rd century BCE, several Edicts of Ashoka mention the Buddha, Ashoka's Rummindei Minor Pillar Edict commemorates the Emperor's pilgrimage to Lumbini as the Buddha's birthplace. Another one of his edicts mentions the titles of several Dhamma texts, establishing the existence of a written Buddhist tradition at least by the time of the Maurya era; these texts may be the precursor of the Pāli Canon. "Sakamuni" in mentioned in the reliefs of Bharhut, dated to circa 100 BCE, in relation with his illumination and the Bodhi tree, with the inscription Bhagavato Sakamunino Bodho. The oldest surviving Buddhist manuscripts are the Gandhāran Buddhist texts, repor
Buddhist ethics are traditionally based on what Buddhists view as the enlightened perspective of the Buddha, or other enlightened beings such as Bodhisattvas. The Indian term for ethics or morality used in Buddhism is sīla. Śīla in Buddhism is one of three sections of the Noble Eightfold Path, is a code of conduct that embraces a commitment to harmony and self-restraint with the principal motivation being nonviolence, or freedom from causing harm. It has been variously described as virtue, right conduct, moral discipline and precept. Sīla is an internal and intentional ethical behavior, according to one's commitment to the path of liberation, it is an ethical compass within self and relationships, rather than what is associated with the English word "morality". Sīla is one of the three practices foundational to Buddhism and the non-sectarian Vipassana movement — sīla, samādhi, paññā as well as the Theravadin foundations of sīla, Dāna, Bhavana, it is the second pāramitā. Sīla is wholehearted commitment to what is wholesome.
Two aspects of sīla are essential to the training: right "performance", right "avoidance". Honoring the precepts of sīla is considered a "great gift" to others, because it creates an atmosphere of trust and security, it means the practitioner poses no threat to another person's life, family, rights, or well-being. Moral instructions are handed down through tradition. Most scholars of Buddhist ethics thus rely on the examination of Buddhist scriptures, the use of anthropological evidence from traditional Buddhist societies, to justify claims about the nature of Buddhist ethics; the source for the ethics of Buddhists around the world are the Three Jewels of the Buddha and Sangha. The Buddha is seen as the discoverer of hence the foremost teacher; the Dharma is the truths of these teachings. The Sangha is the community of noble ones, who practice the Dhamma and have attained some knowledge and can thus provide guidance and preserve the teachings. Having proper understanding of the teachings is vital for proper ethical conduct.
The Buddha taught that right view was a necessary prerequisite for right conduct, sometimes referred to as right intention. A central foundation for Buddhist morality is the law of rebirth; the Buddha is recorded to have stated that right view consisted in believing that: "'there is fruit and ripening of deeds well done or ill done': what one does matters and has an effect on one’s future. Karma is a word which means "action" and is seen as a natural law of the universe which manifests as cause and effect. In the Buddhist conception, Karma is a certain type of moral action which has moral consequences on the actor; the core of karma is the mental intention, hence the Buddha stated ‘It is intention, O monks, that I call karma. Therefore, accidentally hurting someone is not bad Karma. Buddhist ethics sees these patterns of motives and actions as conditioning future actions and circumstances – the fruit of one's present actions, including the condition and place of the actor's future life circumstances.
One's past actions are said to mold one's consciousness and to leave seeds which ripen in the next life. The goal of Buddhist practice is to break the cycle, though one can work for rebirth in a better condition through good deeds; the root of one's intention is what conditions an action to be bad. There are three negative roots. Actions which produce good outcomes are termed "merit" and obtaining merit is an important goal of lay Buddhist practice; the early Buddhist texts mention three'bases for effecting karmic fruitfulness’: giving, moral virtue and meditation. One's state of mind; the Buddhist Sangha is seen as the most meritorious "field of merit". Negative actions accumulate bad karmic results, though one's regret and attempts to make up for it can ameliorate these results; the Four Noble Truths express one of the central Buddhist worldview which sees worldly existence as fundamentally unsatisfactory and stressful. Dukkha is seen to arise from craving, putting an end to craving can lead to liberation.
The way to put an end to craving is by following the Noble Eightfold Path taught by the Buddha, which includes the ethical elements of right speech, right action and right livelihood. From the point of view of the Four Noble Truths, an action is seen as ethical if it is conductive to the elimination of Dukkha. Understanding the truth of Dukkha in life allows one to analyze the factors for its arising, craving, allows us to feel compassion and sympathy for others. Comparing oneself with others and applying the Golden Rule is said to follow from this appreciation of Dukkha. From the Buddhist perspective, an act is moral if it promotes spiritual development by conforming to the Eightfold Path and leading to Nirvana. In Mahayana Buddhism, an emphasis is made on the liberation of all beings. Therefore, special beings called
Chinese Buddhist canon
The Chinese Buddhist Canon refers to the total body of Buddhist literature deemed canonical in Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese Buddhism. The traditional term for the canon." The Chinese Buddhist canon includes Āgama and Abhidharma texts from Early Buddhist schools, as well as the Mahāyāna sūtras and scriptures from Esoteric Buddhism. There are many versions of the canon in East Asia in different places and time. An early version is the Fangshan Stone Sutras from the 7th century; the earlier Lung Tripitaka, Jiaxing Tripitaka, Zhaocheng Jin Tripitaka are still extant in printed form. The complete woodblocks are the Chenlong Tripitaka; the Tripiṭaka Koreana or Palman Daejanggyeong was carved between 1236 and 1251, during Korea's Goryeo Dynasty, onto 81,340 wooden printing blocks with no known errors in the 52,382,960 characters. It is stored at South Korea. One of the most used version is Taishō Shinshū Daizōkyō. Named after the Taishō era, a modern standardized edition published in Tokyo between 1924 and 1934 in 100 volumes.
It is one of the most punctuated tripitaka. The Xuzangjing version, a supplement of another version of the canon, is used as a supplement for Buddhist texts not collected in the Taishō Tripiṭaka; the Jiaxing Tripitaka is a supplement for Ming dynasty and Qing dynasty Buddhist texts not collected, a Dazangjing Bu Bian published in 1986 are supplements of them. The Chinese Manuscripts in the Tripitaka Sinica, a new collection of canonical texts, was published by Zhonghua Book Company in Beijing in 1983-97, with 107 volumes of literature, are photocopies of early versions and include many newly unearthed scriptures from Dunhuang. There are newer. Written in Classical Chinese; the Mi Tripitaka is the Tangut canon. Eric Grinstead published a collection of Tangut Buddhist texts under the title The Tangut Tripitaka in 1971 in New Delhi; the Taishō edition contains classical Japanese works. The Dunhuang edition contains some works in old Western Regions languages; the Tripitaka Sinica mentioned above features a Tibetan section.
A number of apocryphal sutras composed in China are excluded in the earlier canons, such as composed stories the Journey to the West and Chinese folk religion texts, High King Avalokiteshvara Sutra. Modern religious and scholarly works are excluded but they are published in other book series. Pali Canon Sanskrit Buddhist literature Tibetan Buddhist canon
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