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Lecture 22

RLG100Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 22: Mount Hiei, Heian Period, Shunga Empire

Course Code
Andre Maintenay

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February 10 Lecture:
Test Postponed to February 24th. Includes everything from semester 2 to present date.
Buddhism in Japan
Buddhism arrives in Japan in 538 as part of an embassy of the Korean King
Brought with it several items of Chinese civilizations such as Daoism and Confucius as
well as art etc
Chinese civilization at this time was very well developed and high art forms and
Accepts with great enthusiasm by the Japanese and expressly promoted by the Prince
Prine Shokotu Embraces Chinese cultures (confusia style of government), accepts
Buddhism and makes it the stage religion.
Promoted very aggressively by the leadership of Japan
From the beginning Buddhism in Japan is tied in with the elite segment in Japanese
Official favoured by Japanese authorities
The business of Syncretism Combining aspects of different traditions, drawing upon
different traditions for oe’s o ay of doig thigs. (East Asia traditios do’t hae
anxiety from other practices that the west would see as separate traditions). EX
Confucius government, Buddhism for other things but yet both of them are
incorporated in Japanese society.
Three Broad Historical Periods: Nara, Heian, and Kamakura (1195 1333)
- Oldest period from 710 794 (8th century)
- Has been integrated into Elite of Japan.
- Importation from China and Korea of scholastic schools
- No exactly traditional Buddhism, more scholastically oriented
- Promoted by the leadership, kings, emperor etc
- Emperors had an official policy of temple building all over Japanese landscape
- Buddhism closely tied into the Government
- Emperor would encourage his courtier to ordain as monks and therefore as monks
through there activities as monks to generate merit for the sake of the emperor.
- Through goods works and consciously and through donations of support of Sunga
(monastic community) one gets Merit and is of benefit to oneself and in certain
readings of merit it is also transferrable to other peope.
- Monks through religious activities prayer etc generate a tremendous amount of
merit in which they can transfer to the King
- Period that quickly leads to the corruption of Buddhist practices
- Buddhism comes to be perceived by later monks and grossly corrupt so much so that
the Sunga is a department of the government. The Sunga then comes embroiled in
the political intrigue and various forms of corruption during this time.
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