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Essay Questions

1) Write an essay that analyzes the history of Confucianism and Buddhism in China from the time of Confucius (b. 551 B.C.E.-479 B.C.E.) to the introduction and spread of Buddhism in China after the Han Dynasty. What were the nature of the teachings of Confucianism and Buddhism? How did Buddhist and Confucian elites in China understand and compete with popular religion? In what ways were they similar and/or different? Explain how these two ways of understanding the world conflicted with and/or complemented one another. Be as historically specific as possible.

2) For approximately a thousand years, beginning with the Qin Dynasty (221-210 B.C.E.) the dynasties of China worked hard to overcome the resistance of local great lords and to create a group of officials loyal to the emperor. After the An Lushan Rebellion (756-763 C.E.), the emperors of China were better able to implement their vision of a well-ordered society. Write an essay that explains the various strategies used by Chinese dynasties to overcome local elites, and the difficulties encountered in the effort to create and maintain a powerful central government. Finally, what did a well-ordered Chinese state look like to the rulers of China?

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