The Shravan Kumars of China — How Buddhist stories made it to Chinese iconography: The Print

(This article first appeared in The Print on September 19, 2022)

  • When Buddhism came to China in the 1st century AD, caring for ageing parents became a troubling matter. As more and more monks were renouncing their families, Chinese Confucian scholars raised the question of filial piety and duty. That is how ancient Buddhist sutras and Indian Samas began appearing in Chinese iconography. The image of a son carrying his parents on his shoulders may be a common Shravan story for Indians, but it began to appear in Chinese scriptures and murals and became a core concept of Confucianism…

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