The Tang dynasty, or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907 AD.
Historians generally regard the Tang as a high point in Chinese civilization, and a golden age of cosmopolitan culture.
From the outset, religion played a role in Tang politics. In his bid for power, Li Yuan had attracted a following by claiming descent from the Taoism sage Lao Tzu.
People bidding for office would request the prayers of .
Bodhidharma was a semi-legendary Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th or 6th century. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Buddhism to China, and regarded as its first Chinese patriarch.
According to Chinese legend, he also began the physical training of the monks of Shaolin Monastery that led to the creation of Shaolin kungfu.
The Chan (Zen in Japanese) school of Chinese Buddhism began when, in the 7th century, a small religious community gathered .
According to tradition, Chan was introduced around 500 CE by Bodhidharma, an Indian monk teaching dhyāna.
Zen is deeply rooted in the teachings and doctrines of Mahāyāna Buddhism.
Mahayana Buddhism teaches śūnyatā, "emptiness", which is also emphasized by Zen.
But another important doctrine is the buddha-nature, the idea that all human beings have the possibility to awaken.
All living creatures are supposed to have the Buddha-nature, but don't realize this as long as they are not .