The Ten Buddhist Schools of China

The Ten Buddhist Schools of China
China possesses a history of over five thousand years. Therefore, if one tries to talk about Chinese culture without touching on Buddhism, one will be in the position of a blind man as told in the story of the Blind Men and the Elephant. Even though Buddhism had been established some twenty-five centuries ago, it was only transmitted to China during the Chin and Han Dynasties (some five hundred years after the Parinirvana of Sakyamuni Buddha).
Even though Buddhism in China had risen and fallen according to the law of constant changes during the past two thousand years, it had been well established in China. The Chinese have been open-minded in their nature and have been capable of absorbing foreign culture. Therefore when Buddhism was introduced into the well-cultured land of China, it has flourished abundantly and developed fruitfully.
The golden age of Chinese Buddhism was from the age of the Three Kingdoms to the Tang Dynasty. During this period the various Schools in Buddhism evolved their irreproachable and infallible theories based on the doctrine of Sakyamuni Buddha. Historically speaking the rise and fall of the various schools had been closely connected to the evolution of cultural thoughts and current events in China.
A student of Chinese Culture cannot simply neglect Buddhism as his progress will be handicapped like a wheel without an axis. Therefore it is the duty of a lover of Chinese culture to shoulder the responsibility of fostering the study of Buddhism so that the culture will again radiate its splendid light.
The Ten Schools of Chinese Buddhism are as follows:
1. Reality School or Abhidharma School.
2. Satysiddhi School or Cheng-se School.
3. Three Sastra School or San-lun School.
4. The Lotus School or T'ien-t'ai School.
5. The Hua-yen School or Avatamsaka School.
6. Ch'an School or Dhyana School.
7. Discipline School or Vinaya School.
8. Esoteric School or Chen-yen School.
9. Dharmalaksana School or Fa-siang School.
10. Pure-land School or Ching-t'u School.
The principles of all the above schools are based on the partial doctrine of Sakyamuni Buddha. In the beginning there were no such things as schools in Buddhism. The disciples of Buddha, however, took up what had been most beneficial and most practicable for them. Thus ten schools have evolved. This is just a general view of classification on the Buddhist Schools in China.
(Source: BDEA & Buddhanet)