St. Petersburg Professor Alexander Storozhuk speaks of Buddhism’s influence in Tang Dynasty

Professor Alexander Storozhuk hosts a seminar on the influence of Buddhism on Chinese Foreign Policy and Relations during Tang Dynasty

Professor Alexander Storozhuk, the Head of the Department of Chinese Philology at St. Petersburg University, delivered a seminar on the influence of Buddhism on Chinese foreign relations during the Tang Dynasty, yesterday afternoon.

He started his seminar by making delegates aware that the meagre hour he had been allocated would in fact be too short for him to do justice to an inquiry into the influence of Buddhism on China during the Tang Dynasty. He did, however, promise to do his best.

“Buddhism is more than just loving Buddha” he urged, before discussing a well summarised history of the ascendency of the religion during the Tang Dynasty. As Buddhism gained popularity during the Tang Dynasty, curiosity regarding the nature of the religion spread rapidly. Individuals across the social hierarchy in the Tang Dynasty turned to Buddhism, at different times, when searching for solutions to problems. While the history of Buddhism in China can be traced as far back as the Han Dynasty, Professor Storozhuk highlighted how, during the Tang Dynasty, its influence in China was at its peak.

In an interview after his seminar, Professor Storozhuk reflected on the changes that have occurred in China during the approximately 30 year period over which he has visited the country. While he mourns the destruction of areas he treasured due to the city’s changing physical landscape, he marvelled at how the exceptional spirit of the people has remained the same.