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Japanese Buddhism

Japanese Buddhism

The Nihon Shoki (日本書紀), one of Japan’s earliest chronicles, states that Buddhism was introduced to Japan in 552 CE, when the king of Paekche (백제), one of the three Korean kingdoms, sent a mission to the emperor of Japan that presented, among other things, an image of Śākyamuni (Sanskrit...
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The major Japanese schools of Buddhism are the Tendai School Shingon School Pure Land Buddhism Nichiren Zen The Tendai School The Tendai School (天台宗 Tendai-shū) was introduced into Japan by the priest Saichō (最澄, 767-822), also knows as Dengyō Daishi 伝教大師). He had entered a monastery at an...
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Several characteristics of Buddhism that are distinctly Japanese can be observed. First, Japanese Buddhism tends to emphasise the importance of human institutions. While Indian and, in some measure, Chinese Buddhism tended to be reclusive, Japanese Buddhism has emphasised practical morality and...
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Sokushinbutsu (即身仏) refers to a practice of Buddhist monks who observed austerity to the point of death and mummification. It is a process of self-mummification that was mainly practised in Yamagata Prefecture in Northern Japan by members of the esoteric Shingon (“True Word”) School of Buddhism...
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Many Buddhist schools in Japan possess their distinctive rites. The rites can be divided into two main categories: those which religious practitioners perform among themselves and those conducted on behalf of the laity. The first category may be subdivided into rites conducted to develop and...
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Statistically, Japan is a country of Buddhists. More than six-sevenths of the population profess the Buddhist faith, though three-quarters claim to be nonreligious. Buddhism in Japan, divided into 13 principal sects, maintains around 75,000 temples (86,586 in 2000, 85,994 in 2006) with over...
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Hachiman - the God of Archery and War Hachiman (八幡神 Hachiman-jin or Yahata no kami) is a popular Shintō deity who protects warriors and generally looks after the well-being of the community. Since the Heian Period (794-1185), he was identified as the deified spirit of the legendary fifteenth...
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The Tendai sect of Buddhism (天台宗 Tendai-shū) is the Japanese counterpart of the Chinese Tiantai (Tiāntái zōng) sect and was first brought to Japan by the Chinese monk Ganjin (鑑眞) in the 8th century. In 806, the Japanese monk Saichō (最澄; or Dengyō Daishi 伝教大師, 767-822) returned from China and...
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The Kegon School of Buddhism (華厳宗 Kegon-shū) flourished in the early centuries of Japanese Buddhist history and was one of the largest of the Six Sects of Nara (南都六宗 Nanto Rokushū). It is based on the Huayan or Flower Garland school of Buddhism and was introduced in Japan by the Chinese monk...
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Shingon (真言宗 Shingon-shū) is a major Buddhist sect and a branch of Mahāyāna Buddhism, founded by the Japanese monk Kūkai (空海) at the beginning of the 9th century. It is also referred to as the Shingon-darani (Sanskrit: mantra-dharani) sect, or the Dainichi (Mahāvairocana) sect, and generally as...
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Pure Land Buddhism (浄土仏教 Jōdo bukkyō) is a branch of Mahāyāna Buddhism and seeks rebirth into Amitābha Buddha's Western Paradise (the "Pure Land"), traditionally after death. Pure Land Buddhism achieved enormous popularity in China from around 800 CE, though it had existed there earlier. It...
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Namu amida butsu Nenbutsu, commonly transliterated as nembutsu, is the invocation "namu amida butsu" (南無阿弥陀仏, "I take my refuge in the Buddha Amitābha) chanted in the hope of rebirth into Amida's Pure Land. While nowadays strictly of invocational nature (称名念仏 shōmyō nembutsu), there once were...
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Historically, the term "shinbutsu bunri" (神仏分離) refers to the policy of the Meiji government (1868-1912) of separating Shintō and Buddhism to re-establish the divine status of the emperor as prescribed by Shintō belief. Some members of the Meiji government were influenced by kokugaku (国学), a...
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The Bon (盆) or Obon (お盆) Festival, also known as Urabon (盂蘭盆), is a Buddhist observance to honour the spirits of ancestors. It is traditionally observed from 13 to 15 July in the Kantō and Tōhoku area (Shichigatsu Bon, Obon in July) and from 13-15 August (Hachigatsu Bon, Obon in August) in most...
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The Jōdo Shin sect (浄土真宗 Jōdo Shinshū, "True Pure Land sect") is one of the traditional 13 schools of Japanese sect Buddhism and a form of Pure Land Buddhism. Its founder, Shinran (親鸞, 1173-1263), had no intention of establishing an independent movement and used the term Jōdo Shinshū to refer to...
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Nichiren (1222-1282) was a Japanese Buddhist monk and the founder of the Nichiren sect of Buddhism. He was one of the protagonists of the "new Buddhism" of the Kamakura Period (1185-1333). Nichiren (日蓮), also known as Nichiren Daishōnin (日蓮大聖人), was born in the seaside village of Kominato in...
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