One of the many imperial dynasties that reigned in China was the Tang Dynasty. The dynasty lasted from 618 to 907 AD. One of the most crucial factors that played a pivotal role in the rise of this dynasty was the blossoming of various religious sects. The two main religions that dominated in the Tang Dynasty were Buddhism and Confucianism. Previously, with the collapse of the Han dynasty came nearly three hundred years of instability. It was in such an unstable environment that Buddhism began to thrive in China. Its popularity soon began to grow among all of Chinese society.
Buddhism During the Tang Dynasty
Buddhism was at its peak during the Tang Dynasty and as a result after three hundred years of political unrest, China was reunified. Buddhist monasteries acquired great amounts of wealth in the form of land, grains, and precious metals. Buddhism gained much popularity amongst the Tang rulers. Emperor Gaozong honored the famous monk Xunazang for his journey to India to gain more knowledge on the Buddhist sutras. Empress Wu, the only empress in all of Chinese history, also favored Buddhism. She tactfully used Buddhism to weaken her opponents. Sadly, Buddhism began to lose its influence with the decline of the Tang Dynasty.
Confucianism During the Tang Dynasty
Another very popular religion that rose to great strengths during the reign of the Tang dynasty was Confucianism. Confucianism had thrived long before Buddhism was brought to China. It was practiced by all the previous dynasties that ruled China. It served as a guide to all the rulers in China. Ruling officials used the principles of Confucianism to govern the people. Confucianism had a revival amongst the scholars of the Tang dynasty. Buddhism was the popular religion but Confucianism was the backbone of the Chinese culture and society. Confucianism taught the Tang rulers to be kind and honorable. Confucianism is more of a philosophy rather than a religion. It served as a guide to the rulers of the Tang dynasty and taught the way of life to the Chinese people.