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Chinese Buddhism
by Joseph Edkins

AT the present time, when foreign intercourse with China is increasing every year, and our knowledge of that country is extending in proportion, an account of the history and literature of Buddhism in that land will perhaps find more readers than at any former period. The traveller will not fail to inquire why this Indian religion has sunk into such helplessness and decay as he observes. The philosophical historian naturally will wish to know the causes of the vast extension of Buddhism, and of its present decline. The Christian missionary would willingly learn the amount and nature of the religious feeling possessed by the monks, and the strength of the opposition which the religion of Christ has to expect during its propagation, from them and from the Buddhist laity. Especially the statesman needs to be informed how far the Chinese people are likely to be offended by the introduction of Christianity, and whether the opposition to idolatry which it excites will strike at any of their most dearly-cherished prejudices and beliefs.

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