Silk Road: Buddhism And Religion

1145 Words5 Pages
Religions of the Silk Road: Buddhism and Religion The Silk Road is a trans-Asian trade network linking the Mediterranean with East Asia. It consists of not only one road but many roads, going East and West, but also spurring into southern India, northern Eurasian steppe and also across the Hindu Kush. The Silk Road not only was a trade network of goods, but also a source for the spread of different religions. Though the trade routes were mostly used by merchants, the prime transmitters of ideas and such, or businessman but also different kinds of travelers, such as muslims and monks. Long-distance trade both by land and sea aided in the cross-pollution of cultures and definitely religions. The existence of trade routes and constant activity…show more content…
It was forced out of India due to its rejection of Hindu majority but found homes in Tibet, China, Japan and Southeast Asia. A Conversion to Buddhism in oasis cities was voluntary and wither pressure of conquest or foreign rule. Oasis town, Kucha, northern branch of the Silk Road was a Buddhist center which missionaries traveled to. As it expanded to the different places it changed, for example, the original faith despised the material world but in some rich oasis towns got involved with secular affairs (Strayer, 322). Doctrine also changed to Mahayana form of Buddhism, which flourished along the Silk Road. A visual source from a tenth-century Chinese painting shows a traveling monk on the Silk Road. The monk is depicted leading a tiger, a symbol of protection and courage as well as messenger between heaven and earth (Strayer, 359). Mass conversion to Buddhism didn't happen until China. A popular movement, Pure Land, was accepted more among lower class people and women spread along the Silk Road to China and Japan. They adopted to the Mahayana form of Buddhism due to its equalitarian nature and its promise of an afterlife. Many steppe peoples adopted it because it fit their animistic religions of a universal spirit. Bodhidharma, from southern India, traveled to China in order to bring the new teachings. Chinese Buddhist monks traveled to China to discover for themselves the sources of their faith because key terms and teachings were getting lost in translation. Faxian was one of those who traveled to India. He went from Changan to Dunhuang, spending 6 yrs in India. Another was Son Yuan, a native of Dunhuang and Xuanzang, who was inspired by Faxian. Xuanzang was born into a Confucian family but was influenced but an older brother who was Buddhist monk. At the age of twelve he admitted to his brothers monastery and spent fifteen years studying Buddhist teaching but like
Open Document