Another facet of the Buddhist doctrine that is often attacked is the opposing elements of helping others come to Buddhism while the rest of the religion preaches a strong support for evading society. Doing both is quite difficult, as one cannot help other people come to Buddhism and cultivate their minds if they are not even a part of society where there are people to support (Confucian Responses to Buddhism throughout Chinese History, 2010).
The escapist, anti-social, and nihilistic attitude was at the forefront of the Confucian response to Buddhist predominance in Chinese society. Confucians found that many Buddhist clergymen were preaching that the mind must be free of all secular commitment and influence in order to become free from the sanctions of civilization and exemplify the ultimate Buddhist form, nirvana. This is in direct contrast with Confucian ideas that urge that people should learn from the world, react with society, and become a spiritual and influential person. While Buddhism recommends that people discard respect for the norms, culture, tradition, Confucian ethics persuade all these things, and even required them as necessities for personal growth and attainment. It was very significant that people show deliberation for their parents, strangers and rulers in the Confucian ethical arrangement, and the practices of escapism being taught by Buddhist were in direct difference with that. The Confucians made public that the Buddhist escapist practice was encouraging people to abandon their families which was unswerving disregard for the Five Constant Relationships. Furthermore, charges against the Buddhist practice went on to maintain that the escapist customs be liable to regard material things as deceiving and not real, and consequently it seemed that Buddhist only considered the mind as being genuine, which is a part of the Buddhist doctrine. Confucians found this to be a factor that disintegrated society and made Buddhist everyday interactions scorned, while on the other hand, promoted meditation and inner cultivation as the only means of useful interaction (Confucian Responses to Buddhism throughout Chinese History, 2010).
The Buddhist answers to the charges being made against them by Confucians were comparatively small. There are many debates over as to why this is. One clear cut conviction is that the Buddhist leaders, had to put into practice what they preached, thus their escapist viewpoints led them to not have a means in which to react to Confucian criticisms. If the majority of Buddhist leaders and writers are off in the wilderness contemplating and evading society, then they are not going to be able to respond to Confucian assaults in a means that would reach the masses. And just assuming they even heard of many of the Confucian attacks while living the escapist-monkish lifestyle is a stretch in itself. Another assumption as to why the Buddhist response was quite small is that most of the Confucian attacks were undeniable realities. In some of the allegations against Buddhism it is obvious that they are based on the writings and teachings of the Buddhist religion. The attacks on the Buddhist Doctrine are responses to direct claims made from the text, and the charges on the escapist mentality are undoubtedly undeniable as nihilism runs ramped through Buddhist teachings. Despite the fact that there is not a considerable rebuttal by Buddhist philosophers, there are a few counterpoints that they did present (Confucian Responses to Buddhism throughout Chinese History, 2010).
The positions that Buddhist tended to defend were the ones that did not have as much of an accurate claim. A substantial Confucian response to Buddhist practices was to say that they did not explain the theory of causation because of their conviction in the division of the mind and the rest of the world. Buddhist respond by saying that the Buddhist Doctrine and other writings do explain the theory of causation and that karma is something that represents that very philosophy. Another claim that the Buddhist often chose to counter is the Confucian claim that Buddhism is a forerunner of calamity and that it is a scrounging religion. Buddhist often opposes this by saying that no religion is free of deficiency and disasters, and that the few problems that have come about in Buddhist society cannot be blamed on the religion. Buddhists are stated as using Confucius' and Yu-Hui's poverty stricken problems as evidence of their religion not being the cause for calamity. While these counterpoints to Confucian responses are not in accordance with some of the bigger themes, they are the most effective and most believable of the Buddhist comebacks (Confucian Responses to Buddhism throughout Chinese History, 2010).
The historical circumstance of these arguments is quite fascinating. The Confucians often showed their responses in writings that incorporated examples of song and verse and prose. Exhibiting their arguments in such a way offered a very aesthetic value to their claims and it made them more affecting and more memorable, as well as better matched for long readings. The force of the Confucian-Buddhist debates altered the structure of Chinese society. Buddhism was quite prevalent, but with a large number of Confucian attacks and the minimal Buddhist responses, it was not long before the re-birth of Confucianism became the predominant ethical system once again (Confucian Responses to Buddhism Throughout Chinese History, 2010).
Ancient Eastern Philosophy on the Ancient Wisdom of Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism & Confucianism. (2010). Retrieved August 20, 2010, from Web site: