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Lecture 7

RELIG ST 2TT3 Lecture 7: sep 16, 2014 2tt3.docx

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Department
Religious Studies
Course Code
RELIGST 2TT3
Professor
Nick Rowe

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Relig St. 2TT3 16/09/14:
Nihongi and koshiki (from previous lecture) texts compiled in the early 8th century.
Buddhism officially arrives in 538. Let’s just say it arrives sometime in the 6th century.
Well prior to the nada period.
Buddhism enters japan and is adopted by the japs as a superior from of magic. Magic as a
technology. As a way to control those things that are outside of human control. Buddhism
is adopted by the rulers of japan because it has excellent rituals and prayers to benefit the
nation. Personal faith and enlightenment do play a part, but that’s not why and initially,
and for much of Japanese history, Buddhism became popular.
Also, Buddhism, doesn’t displace Shinto ideas. Buddhism says we can do it better. It acts
within the same logic, it just provides better rituals for accomplishing the same goals.
Nada is the first permanent capital of Japan, in the early part of the 8th century. One of the
imp things that happen in nada, is the state formally adapting Buddhism as a state
religion.
What does that mean? Buddhist priests and nuns are essentially govt employees. They
must be licensed or ordained. Primary function of state sponsored Buddhism, is
protection of the nation. “state protection”.
Ex. In 737, epidemic of small pox. So you do the normal stuff, isolation, doctors, etc. so
that was happening. But what was the official response? The emperor officially tells
priests to make Buddhist statues, chants, etc. this is the official Buddhist response.
In 741, emperor decided that every province had to establish a temple for 20 priests and a
temple for 10 nuns.
Cosmic Buddha surrounded by 1000 lotus petals each petal has a Buddha. Each petal also
have 10 mill. Mountains, moons, bodhisattvas, etc.
This was the model for the emperor. A central image of the cosmic Buddha, with 1000’s
of Buddha’s surrounding. So you got the central temple. And then temples in each state/
province. “theyre like a Buddhist defence grid” to protect the nation.
In part, this was to unify the nation. To have centralized power in local areas. But also,
Buddhism is most useful when used to protect nation.
Central temple in nada. Huge cosmic Buddha there. Biggest copper statue in the world.
Built in the 8th century. This temple also has official shit. Administrative stuff. 7 sects of
nada Buddhism preside here. If you wanted to become a priest, etc, then you went here to
learn and become ordained.
Nada period: japan basically takes all of Buddhism and tries to make sense of it. This
period is basically early Buddhism in japan.
Lot of study goes on in this period with regards to the religion.
We should think about sutras as a living thing. They are meant to be replicated. They tell
the peeps, that if you read the sutra, and spread it, and repeat it, then good will happen.
Kukai (also known as kokodashen?) born in 774. Born in an aristocratic fam. Super
smart. Expected to become a bureaucrat. While he is studying for his exam, he hears
about a Buddhist sutra. And if you master the sutra, it’ll help you memorize things. (here
again, we see usefulness of Buddhism. Not for enlgihtment or anything, but to help your
brain).

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Description
Relig St. 2TT3 16/09/14: th •Nihongi and koshiki (from previous lecture) texts compiled in the early 8 century. th •Buddhism officially arrives in 538. Let’s just say it arrives sometime in the 6 century. Well prior to the nada period. •Buddhism enters japan and is adopted by the japs as a superior from of magic. Magic as a technology. As a way to control those things that are outside of human control. Buddhism is adopted by the rulers of japan because it has excellent rituals and prayers to benefit the nation. Personal faith and enlightenment do play a part, but that’s not why and initially, and for much of Japanese history, Buddhism became popular. •Also, Buddhism, doesn’t displace Shinto ideas. Buddhism says we can do it better. It acts within the same logic, it just provides better rituals for accomplishing the same goals. th •Nada is the first permanent capital of Japan, in the early part of the 8 century. One of the imp things that happen in nada, is the state formally adapting Buddhism as a state religion. •What does that mean? Buddhist priests and nuns are essentially govt employees. They must be licensed or ordained. Primary function of state sponsored Buddhism, is protection of the nation. “state protection”. •Ex. In 737, epidemic of small pox. So you do the normal stuff, isolation, doctors, etc. so that was happening. But what was the official response? The emperor officially tells priests to make Buddhist statues, chants, etc. this is the official Buddhist response. •In 741, emperor decided that every province had to establish a temple for 20 priests and
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