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Buddhism in China before the Tang Dynasty Officially Buddhism first arrived in China before 100 CE probably through Southeast Asia and Tibet Traditionally The Emperor Mingdi who reigned between CE 57 and 75 is said to have dreamt of a golden deity who was later identified as Buddha and this prompted him to send to India for copies of the Buddhist scriptures 45 Roberts The teachings of Buddhism continued to come into China first into urban high-class societies then to the general populous It was supported by various emperors especially Mingdi who spread it to the Imperial Courts and so on down to the masses By the time the Sui and shortly following Tang Dynasty had been established Buddhism had been in China for over half a millennia It had a fairly strong foothold and had begun to be assimilated into Chinese culture However it was still only a shadow of what it would become in less than 100 years It certainly was not without its opponents but the Emperors who did not support it realized its power and influence and so largely left it alone Major Support for Buddhism in the Tang Dynasty Buddhisms first major supporter in the Tang Dynasty was the Empress Wu She usurped the throne in 690 CE After using the aftermath of a small revolt to purge her opponents from court It seems that she may have had the support of the Buddhist clergy in this move and possibly because of that she became a major supporter of the religion During her fifteen year reign she was a great patron to the Buddhist monks and funded the construction of a many temples and monasteries including the Hall of Light Following Empress Wu the next great supporter of Buddhism was the Xuanzong Emperor His reign was to be remembered as
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