Buddhism Enters China (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: Popular Buddhist legend holds that after seeing an image of the Buddha in a dream, Emperor Ming of the Han Dynasty sent envoys to India in search of Buddhist texts. Their return marked the introduction of Buddhism to China.
Summary of Event
According to popular legend, sometime during the seventh decade of the first century (between 60 and 68 c.e.), Emperor Ming of the Eastern, or Later, Han Dynasty (25-220 c.e.) dreamed of a tall, golden man emitting a brilliant light and hovering in the air in front of his palace. On questioning his ministers about the meaning of the dream, the emperor learned that he had seen the Buddha. Wishing to learn more about this figure, Mingdi had envoys sent to the west. They traveled as far as Yuezhi in northern India, where they met with two Buddhist monks. Together with these monks, the envoys loaded a host of images and texts onto a white horse and returned to the Han capital at Luoyang, where they took up residence at the newly built White Horse Monastery (Baima si), the first Buddhist monastery in China. One of the texts said to have been brought back to Luoyang was the Sutra in Forty-two Sections (Si shi er zhang jing), popularly held to be the first Buddhist text translated into Chinese (although there is disagreement about whether the text was translated or composed in China). The official introduction of Buddhism to China is traditionally traced...
(The entire section is 1129 words.)
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