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Buddhism, the dominant religious philosophy in China, first arrived during the Han Dynasty and played a central role in Chinese culture and history. Generally speaking, Buddhism in China can be categorized into Han, Tibetan and Southern Buddhism. Chinese Buddhism refers collectively to the various schools of Buddhist thought that have flourished in China since ancient times. These schools have integrated the ideas of Confucianism, Taoism and other indigenous philosophical systems so that what was initially a foreign religion (the buddhadharma from India) came to be a natural part of Chinese civilization, albeit with its own unique character.

Buddhism has played an enormous role in shaping the mindset of the Chinese people.  Chinese aesthetics, politics, literature, philosophy and medicine have all been greatly influenced by Buddhism. During the Tang Dynasty Chinese Buddhism peaked and produced numerous spiritual masters of outstanding brilliance. Their legacy is among China's greatest treasures.

Beijing houses many celebrated Buddhist temples.

( August 24, 2007)

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