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5 Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism from the End of the Eastern Han to the Early Tang Dynasty, I (ca. Mid-2nd to Mid-7th Centuries)

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Chapter Summary

In great measure, Chinese intellectual history after the Han is simply the history of the transmission of Buddhism and its Sinification, the rise of religious Daoism and its responses to Buddhism, and the continual absorption and blending of Buddhist thought into traditional Chinese thought. The most obvious trend in Chinese intellectual history during the Western Han dynasty was the unification of thought and the merging of the tradition of political power and the tradition of Confucian moral principle as well as knowledge and power. The final political ideology that developed from the Western to the Eastern Han was a vast overarching system that covered everything. The Daoist religious system was mainly established to accomplish the standardization of religious activities. The Daoist precepts and rules were based on Confucian ethics and morality, but their texts repeatedly referred to Buddhist precepts and rules.

Keywords: Buddhism; Chinese intellectual history; Confucianism; Daoism; Han dynasty; political ideology

10.1163/9789047425076_007
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