Buddhism was introduced into the regions inhabited by the Han people, the largest ethnic group in China, about the first century A.D. There are two types of Buddhism in China, Mahayana Buddhism and Hinayana Buddhism. Mahayana Buddhism reached its peak of popularity during the Sui and Tang Dynasties (581-907). Mahayana Buddhism stresses the existence of many Buddhas. It focuses attention on Buddhas in heaven and on people who will become Buddhas in the future. It believes that these present and future Buddhas can save people through compassion and grace. Hinayana Buddhism was introduced from Burma, about the 9th century A.D. It emphasizes the importance of Buddha as a historical figure, the virtues of monastic life, and the authority of the Tripitaka. Lamaism, a form of Buddhism intermingled with indigenous Tibetan religion known as Bon, is widespread in Tibet and Inner Mongolia. Lamaism mainly gained its Buddhist knowledge from Han Mahayana Buddhist sources. Of the various sects that eventually developed within Lamaist Buddhism, the main ones are Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu, Bon, and Gelug.

Photo Gallery of Chinese Buddhism