Politics and Buddhism in Th Century China
As usual politicians get nervous when any faith or religion has more power than they do. By the middle of the 9th century China’s ruling class were looking at the wealth of the temples with a mix of astonishment and greed. It has been said that the combined wealth of the temples at that time exceeded the Imperial court. Plus with the fact that Buddhist monks did not produce sons, unless they had them prior to ordination, this was looked at as another drain on the economy. Plus the amounts of gold, silver and other precious metals and gems being used to construct temples, and cast statues, was alarming. The imperial Court fearing economic devastation, decided a change was needed: State Confucianism was encouraged instead. Temples were closed or severely controlled through government restrictions and policies. Zen Buddhism survived and later started a renaissance during the Sung Dynasty.