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Lecture

Japanese Religions


Department
Religion
Course Code
RLG100Y1
Professor
Andre Maintenay

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World Religions
Japanese Religions
Reading: Ch. 10 “Korean and Japanese Religions,” pp. 501-538
March 30th, 2011.
Buddhism arrives in China in 538 CE
Buddhism arriving in Japan comes in a package with Chinese assimilation
including Confucianism, Taoism, the Chinese script, Chinese literature, Chinese
art forms
Buddhism invited to Japan who saw confusion philosophy a technique for
achieving stability for society
By the time late 6th century CE Confucianism becomes state philosophy,
Buddhism becomes state religion
Syncretistic – draws on elements of various religions and simplicizes
Japanese religion si highly syncretistic, incorporating elements of all Chinese
religions
Buddhism in Japan studied in 3 different phases
1.Nara
Continuation of trends we see with the 1st importation of Buddhism
Period of tremendous temple building where Buddhism is state philosophy and
becomes mode for social and political advancement
Royal families have embraced Buddhism
Way for aristocratic to move up social ladder
State oversight of the development, sponsorship of Buddhism
Primarily for the elite – attracted wealthy, politically ambitious monks
Monks ordered to be ordained for the merit of the ruler
Buddhism institutions were highly subservient
Saicho (dengyo daishi) 762 to 822 CE
Joins Buddhism at age of 12 and studies all classical schools
Saicho becomes disenchanted with practice of Buddhism and goes on pilgrimage
to china with the idea that the practice of Buddhism in china is presteemed less
politically and materially involved
Studies in china for a long time and discovers all sorts of other scriptures and
insights
Eventually returns to Japan and found the Samgha school and acquires certain
reputation as a monk of exceptional learning and skill
Inspired by king to move the capital of the country closer to Mount Hiahi
April 1st, 2011.
Kamakura period – 1192 to 1333
See certain nationalistic element entering into Buddhist practice in Japan
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