Contextualizing Buddhist Approaches to Religious Diversity

When and How Buddhist Intellectuals Address Confucianism and Daoism (3rd–9th c)
  • Shi Zhiru


From its arrival in China at the turn of the Common Era, Buddhism had had to contend with native religious or philosophical traditions with dauntingly long histories and ideological associations with the state. While Buddhists could have just dismissed the majority of non-Buddhist positions as heterodoxy (other teaching), the realities of religious transmission, economic patronage, and state religious policies catapulted Buddhist leaders in early medieval China to come to terms with cultural and religious diversities. In particular, Confucianism was so deeply entrenched in the Chinese court and society that any explicit subversion of it would have been disastrous for the future of Buddhism in the new territories of China. Consequently, medieval Chinese Buddhists quickly developed strategies toward competing traditions that could be fruitfully studied as Buddhist approaches toward religious diversity.


Religious Diversity Chinese Thought Imperial Examination Buddhist Teaching Binary Pair 
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© Perry Schmidt-Leukel and Joachim Gentz 2013

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  • Shi Zhiru

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