Free Articles  >>  Religion >>  Page 1  >> 

Buddhism Comes to Japan

The official history of Buddhism in Japan began on October 13, B.E. 1095 (552 C.E.) when the ruler of Paekche or Kudara, one of the three kingdoms of ancient Korea, sent a delegation with an image of the Buddha to the emperor of Japan. Thirty-five years later, in B.E. 1130 (587 C.E.), one of the first Buddhist temples was built at Horyoji near Nara, which still stands as the oldest wooden building in the world.

In B.E. 1137 (594 C.E.) Prince Shotoku, who is regarded in Japan as ‘the founder of Japanese civilization as well as of a united, Japanese nation’ and in Japanese Buddhism as ‘Asoka of the Land of the Rising Sun,’ issued an Imperial Ordinance supporting and urging the development of the Three Treasures: the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. By this Buddhism was established as the state religion of Japan. Then the Prince promulgated the first Japanese constitution, compiled the first history of Japan, lectured and wrote commentaries on Sutras, encouraged industries, transportation and communication, founded a religious centre, an orphanage, an old people’s home and a hospital, and sent monks and students to the continent to study and bring back to Japan the arts and sciences and the highly developed culture of Buddhist China.

Nara Buddhism
Thus, in spite of its introduction through Korea, the further development of Buddhism in Japan went on through its close relationship with China. In B.E. 1253 (710 C.E.) Nara was established as the permanent capital. From this time to the end of the so-called Nara Period in B.E. 1326 (783 C.E.) six Buddhist sects, usually known as the Six Sects of the Nara Period, were introduced from China, namely, Sanron (the Madhyamika Three-Treatises), Kegon (the Avatamsaka), Hosso (the Yogacara), Ritsu (the Vinaya School), Jojitsu (the Satyasiddhisastra), and Kusha (the Abhidharmakosa). Only the first four of these sects were of importance, while the fifth was closely related to Sanron and the sixth could be regarded as part of Hosso. And it was the Hosso that was most influential.

Under Emperor Shomu of Nara, Japan saw the golden period of perfect peace when political unity was strengthened by the unity of faith in Buddhism and the ideal government was carried out in accordance with the ideal of the Dharma. The Daibutsu, the great image of the Maha Vairocana Buddha at the temple of Todaiji in Nara, erected in about B.E. 1286 (743 C.E.), is a symbol of this unity. At the ceremony dedicating this great image, the Emperor publicly declared himself the slave of the Three Treasures. His daughter, Empress Koken, even left the imperial throne for a time to live as a nun, devoting herself to the study and practice of Buddhism, and on coming again to the throne she appointed some priests as her ministers.

The Two Sects of the Heian Period
This strong support by the government and the growing influence of the monks and monasteries led to an undesirable result. A large number of people entered the monkhood only for gain and fame, and made the monkhood degenerate in moral virtues. The monks’ involvement in politics made the situation even worse. This caused the downfall of the government at Nara. Then, to escape the influence of wealthy and politically powerful monks at the great Buddhist centres that had grown up around the court in Nara, the seat of the government was moved to Heian (later called Kyoto) in B.E. 1327 (784 C.E.). At the new capital, the Emperor issued Ordinances again and again to rouse the monks to noble virtues and proper conduct. This encouraged the rise of two new sects, Tendai and Shingon, which grew in influence and popularity till the end of the Heian Period in B.E. 1727 (1184 C.E.), while the six sects of Nara waned into obscurity. During this period the conciliation between Shinto and Buddhism was strengthened by turning ancient Shinto gods into Bodhisattvas. Then Buddhism ceased to be an imported religion and became nationalized as truly Japanese Buddhism. Thus Japan reached the classical age of its art, literature and religion.
About Author Arjanyai :

Create your own slideshow <a href="" target="_blank"></a> <a href="" target="_blank"></a> <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

Article Source:
Article Url:

Article Added on Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Other Articles by Arjanyai

Western Buddhism and the Buddhist Revival in Asia Western Buddhism
The growing interest in Buddhism and the progress of Buddhist studies in the West have greatly influenced the Buddhist revival in Asian Buddhist countries. As stated above, when Asia entered the modern period, Buddhism had stagnated in a state of habits and become a popular religion burdened with ceremonials and superstition. Then, in the face of Western civilization, it lost ground. But, with the rise in the interest among Western people, Asian Buddhists turned to revalue their traditional...

The General Picture Japan
On the whole, Japanese Buddhism still maintains its strength in the intelligentsia and the rural population. Zen is associated with the culture preserved among the highly cultured people, is the spiritual strength of the nation, and has a strong appeal to the intellectuals and the modern Western mind. For the rural people, the popular sects of Amida and the Lotus offer stronger appeal, especially the Shin sect which has the greatest number of adherents. Superstitious beliefs and practices are...

Northern Buddhism in Its Good and Hard Times
A TRANSITION In summary, the Buddhist history as told above can be roughly divided into periods of five hundred years. In the first five hundred years, the original Theravada tradition was strong, and the further development of Buddhism in Theravada countries is the product of this period. The second period saw the prosperity of Mahayana, the rise of its major schools of Madhyamika and Yogacara, and their spread to Central Asia and China where Mahayana flourished and spread further to other...

Buddhism Comes to Japan Part 3
3. Nichiren is a form of popular Buddhism. Its founder, Nichiren, was a monk of militant and nationalistic spirit. He taught that one should have absolute faith in the eternal Sakyamuni Buddha, that the only true doctrine was the teaching of the Saddharmapunฺdฺarika sutra, and that peace and happiness both of the individuals and of the nation could be achieved only by the practice of this true teaching. Its followers are taught to keep devotion to the Sutra and to turn the teaching...

Buddhist Studies And Meditation In American Universities
A special mention should be made of developments in the United States during the last few decades. The Americans seem to have been speeding up to take the lead in the activities of spreading the knowledge of Buddhism in the West, both public and academic. The publication of books on Buddhism has continued to rise. Research scholars, serious students and ordinary practical people do not fall short of new titles to contribute to their knowledge and understanding of Buddhism. In many American...

The Origin of Mahayana Buddhism
Buddhism spread also to countries to the north and northeast of its homeland. But there it developed into a separate form quite different from that practised in the south. To get an idea of it, let us turn back to India. the country of its origin. The division of Buddhism can be traced back to the time of the Second Council, a century after the Buddha, when the Sangha began to split into two groups of monks. One came to be called Theravadins and the other, Mahasanghikas. By the time of King...

Buddhism and the Ancient Thai Nation
According to tradition, Buddhism was introduced into Thailand more than two thousand years ago, when this territory was known as Suvarnabhumi and was still inhabited by the Mons and Lawas. At that time one of the nine missions sent by King Asoka of India to spread Buddhism in different countries, came to Suvarnabhumi. This mission was headed by two Arahants named Sona and Uttara and they succeeded in converting the ruler and the people of the Thai kingdom to Buddhism. Nakhon Pathom was then the...

Buddhism of the Northern School
Under King Kanishda, a great Council, not recognized by the Theravada, was held in Kashmir or Jalandhar. It was regarded as the Third Council of the Mahayanists who did not accept the Third Council of Patฺaliputra, and as the Fourth Council of India. It was presided over by the learned monks Vasumitra and Parsva and attended by five hundred monks. At this Council, a new set of scriptures in Sanskrit was approved together with fundamental Mahayana principles. A great scholar named...

Buddhism and the West in the Eyes of Western Scholars
John Walters, a British journalist converted to Buddhism, writes in his The Essence of Buddhism: “This, in the West, is a period of gigantic material and economic progress..... It is often boasted that everything in America has, with her amazing material progress, changed for the better. But what of man ? Everything may appear happier; yet man himself is no happier. Today, as statistics prove, a bigger proportion of people than ever before worry themselves into insanity. Psychiatry has become a...

Spread And Development Of Buddhism In Burma Cambodia Thailand And Laos
Development in Burma In Burma, Buddhism reached its golden era in the reign of King Anurudh (or Anawrata; B.E. 1588 -1621 or 1044 - 1077 C.E.), when Burma was first united into one country and its capital city of Pagan became a great centre of Buddhist culture. After the end of the Mongol occupation under Kublai Khan (from B.E. 1831 to 1845; 1287 - 1301 C.E.), Buddhism flourished again under King Dhammaceti (B.E. 2004 - 2035; or 1460 - 1491 C.E.). During the next centuries, Burmese Buddhism...

Click here to see More Articles by Arjanyai
Publishers / Webmasters
Article ID: 146853
DELINK URL from Authors Bio
REMOVE Article
Tell A Friend
Leave A Comment!
Download this article in PDF
Report Article!
Search through all the articles:

108 Users Online !
Related Articles:
Latest Articles:
Religion >> Top 50 Articles on Religion
Category - >
Advertising Advice Affiliate Programs Automobiles
Be Your Own Mentor Careers Communication Consumers
CopyWriting Crime Domain Names DoT com Entrepreneur Corner
Ebooks Ecommerce Education Email
Entertainment Environment Family Finance And Business
Food & Drink Gardening Health & Fitness Hobbies
Home Business Home Improvement Humour House Holds
Internet And Computers Kiddos and Teens Legal Matters Mail Order
Management Marketing Marriage MetaPhysical
Motivational MultiMedia Multi Level Marketing NewsLetters
Pets Psychology Religion Parenting
Politics Sales Science Search Engine Optimization
Site Promotion Sports Technology Travel
Web Development Web Hosting WeightLoss Women's Corner
Writing Miscellaneous Articles Real Estate Arts And Crafts

Disclaimer: The information presented and opinions expressed in the articles are those of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the views of and/or its owners.

Copyright © AwareINDIA. All rights reserved || Privacy Policy || Terms Of Use || Author Guidelines || Free Articles
FAQs Link To Us || Submit An Article || Free Downloads|| Contact Us || Site Map  || Advertise with Us ||
Click here for Special webhosting packages for visitors of this website only!
Vastu Shastra

Linux cPanel Hosting Provided By AwareIndia

Company IDS