What's new

Welcome to Japan Reference (JREF) - the community for all Things Japanese.

Join Today! It is fast, simple, and FREE!

Buddhism & Shintoism

Eden

後輩
Joined
21 Jul 2004
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
Hey are there schools/temples you can go to in tokyo that can teach you all about buddhism or shintoism?
I liked the stuff ive read up on buddhism (all that peace, karma and calmness..) and i really wanna learn more about it.. like practice it maybe..
alright, thanks!
 

Buntaro

運動不足
Joined
27 Dec 2003
Messages
1,639
Reaction score
437
There are many different types of Buddhism in Japan. Which type did you want to study?
 

Eden

後輩
Joined
21 Jul 2004
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
that's just it..i dont know much about the different kinds.. i know about zen. but i wonder about the other kinds of buddhism.
any temples you can recommend i visit in tokyo?
 

Buntaro

運動不足
Joined
27 Dec 2003
Messages
1,639
Reaction score
437
First, I want to say three things:

1. You really need to take a look at which denomination you want to visit. There is a BIG DIFFERENCE in what the different denominations teach. At the end of this post, I will put a quick explanation of what is Buddhism, and what are the main Japanese denominations.

2. I do not know any specific temples in Tokyo. Do you speak Japanese? The language barrier can be a big problem.

3. You should join the Buddhist forum. I am sure you can find people who can recommend temples in Tokyo:

http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/

~~~

Now, here is a passage adapted from a book on Buddhism, "Turning the
Wheel" by Sandy Boucher, giving a basic explanation of Buddhist
thought, and an outline of some of the major Buddhist demoninations.

[BASIC BUDDHISM]

Buddhism began in the sixth century [B.C.], when an Indian nobleman's
son named Siddhartha Gautama left his [father's] palace in order
to investigate the causes of suffering, old age, and death. After
years of searching and practicing austerities, he turned away from
asceticism. Sitting alone under a fig tree, he attained "enlightenment,"
which can be described as "a direct, dynamic spiritual ex-
perience brought about. . . through the faculty of intuition..."
or, more simply, seeing clearly.

Siddhartha Gautama's enlightenment (which entitled him to
the [title] Buddha) occurred without the help of a deity or
even an earthly teacher, simply as the result of his own efforts..
After it, while he could have remained in a state of solitary bliss,
he chose to give to others what he had learned, and he spent the
next forty-nine years of his life traveling throughout India and
teaching the "Dharma" (the truth, or the way). That his early disciples
came from all social classes indicates that he stood in open
opposition to the Hindu caste system as it then existed. He was
also revolutionary in allowing women to join the monastic order
he founded.

Now, 2,500 years later, the teachings he gave are followed by
somewhere between a third and a fifth of the earth's people.
Chief among the observances they perform are generosity, moral
conduct, and ceremonies expressing reverence. Meditation in order
to achieve the goal of liberation or enlightenment is engaged
in by smaller numbers of more intensely motivated practitioners.
In the West it is meditation practice that is usually emphasized,
and in some instances Buddhist meditation techniques are taught
independent of all religious trappings.

The Buddha taught three universal qualities of human exis-
tence. The first is the impermanence of everything as it flows from
birth to death or creation to dissolution. Next is the suffering in
human existence. This concept has been variously translated, and
one of the more inclusive interpretations is "the general unsatis-
factoriness of life." Some explicators have used the image of a
wheel set slightly askew on its axle, so that it rubs and wears as it
turns, always just a little off balance, as we are almost always a little
off balance in our lives. The third quality is the nonexistence of the
self; a concept difficult for Westerners. In the unceasing flow of
phenomena, the self is seen as having no solidity, no separate existence.
It is viewed as an artificial construct, merely a tool for accomplishing
actions in the world. When told to let go of belief in
the self, contemporary western [people] especially react with outrage,
pointing out that most of us need to build ego-strength and
selfhood, not to destroy it. But this resistance arises from a misconception,
for what one gives up are the qualities in oneself that
obstruct and hinder, and cause pain-the impediments to full realization,
such as greed, hatred, and delusion. In experiencing
oneness with all phenomena one taps into an unshakable strength
far deeper than the capacities of personality.

The Four Noble Truths form the foundation of Buddhist practice. They are:

1. We suffer.

2. The cause of our suffering is our craving, primarily for pleasant
sense contacts and for survival-a craving that can never
be satisfied because of the impermanence of the body and the
transience of any particular mental, physical, or emotional
state.

3. There can be an end to the suffering.

4. The means to that end is provided in the Eightfold Noble
Path.

The Eightfold Noble Path is generally broken down into three
sections under Wisdom, Morality, and Concentration. Wisdom is
comprised of Right Understanding and Right Thought (that is,
purpose or aspiration). Morality requires Right Speech, Right Action,
Right Livelihood. Concentration is reached through Right
Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration (that is,
meditation). This Eightfold Noble Path is called the Middle Way,
for it avoids, on the one hand, losing oneself in sensual pleasures,
and, on the other hand, giving oneself over to asceticism and self-mortification.

An almost universal practice in Buddhism is taking refuge. Often
this begins a practice session or retreat. One "takes refuge" in, or
invokes the protection of, the Buddha, the Dharma, and the
Sangha (community of enlightened ones), which are known as the
Three Jewels or Three Gems. In Western language, one takes
refuge in the enlightened mind (Buddha), in the way leading to it
(Dharma), and in those who achieved enlightenment by traveling
this path (Sangha). Usually in American Buddhism the sangha is
interpreted more broadly as the community of all those who practice,
and this is the sense in which it will be used in this book.

The Divine Abodes, another mainstay of Buddhism, give an idea
of its gentle and benevolent moral foundation. The four qualities
to be cultivated are: Loving-Kindness, Compassion, Sympathetic
Joy, and Equanimity.

As Nancy Wilson Ross has pointed out, "Buddhism recognizes
no sacred and revealed Scripture and no Divine Personality existing
outside and beyond man and his world. Buddhism is not a revealed
faith but a religion of accumulated wisdom, and each generation
is free to add to it without fear of the charge of heresy.'
In this spirit, Buddhism was taken from India to other countries
in the East, and in each new country its practitioners interpreted
it through their own cultural forms, translating the texts into
their own language, devising ceremonies appropriate to their
needs.

There are two major strains or families within Buddhism: Theravada
and Mahayana. (The name Hinayana, or "lesser vehicle,"
sometimes used to denote Theravada, was invented by practitioners
who broke from the original teachings to forge a new path and
who called themselves Mahayana, the "greater vehicle." Thus the
term Hinayana is considered to be denigrating, and Theravada,
or Way of the Elders, is more commonly used.) Theravada Bud-
dhism is based upon the Pali canon, an extensive body of scripture
first written down by the monks of Ceylon in 80 B.C.E., several
hundred years after the Buddha's death. Pali is an Indo-Aryan
dialect of the Buddha's time. Theravada Buddhism was originally
dedicated to the ideal of individual salvation and set forth monasticism
as the way to that end. While it has taken quite liberalized
forms in the West, its practice in Southeast Asia can be seen as the
"fundamentalism" of Buddhism.

The Mahayana, which matured in northern India during and
following the first and second centuries C.E., is based on the Sanskrit
version of the scriptures, and comprises all the forms developed
after Theravada, principally Pure Land and Zen as they are
practiced in China, japan, Korea, and other countries, and Tibetan
Buddhism. Sanskrit is the traditional sacred and scholarly language
of India. The Mahayana proposed the ideal of salvation for
all and developed forms of popular devotion and universal secular
service to humanity. The term Vajrayana is used to indicate Tibetan
Buddhism, and some practitioners think of the Vajrayana
as a separate strain in Buddhism, but it is generally seen as a type
of Mahayana manifestation.

One important distinction between the Theravada and Mahayana
is the role of the Bodhisattva. In Theravada Buddhism, the
Bodhisattva is one who has set himself or herself on the path to
enlightenment or Buddhahood. In this endeavor he or she will
practice the paramis or perfections, including loving kindness toward
other beings. With full cultivation of these perfections, he
or she will become a Buddha and will enter Nirvana at death. In
Mahayana Buddhism, the Bodhisattva is a person who has the
same wisdom and virtue as a Buddha but who delays the eventual
entry into Nirvana in order to stay in the world to help all sentient
beings achieve enlightenment.

Theravada Buddhism is the oldest form, having arisen within a
few hundred years after the Buddha's lifetime. Considered the
most austere path, it thrives in Southeast Asian countries such as
Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand, and it has some foothold still in
India. The Theravada path is a gradual one, in which through
meditation and study and the following of an ever more scrupulous
moral life one eventually gains enlightenment. Although there has
been considerable Theravada activity in this country for the past
ten years, with the establishment of one large teaching center and
several smaller ones, and at least one functioning monastery that
ordains monks and nuns, it has operated in relative obscurity.

[While most people say that there are two major strains of Buddhism (Therevada
and Mahayana) there is also Vajrayana, called by some the third
turning of the wheel. Some even say that there has been a fourth
turning of the wheel known as Dzogchen which includes Tantric practices.]

Zen Buddhism grew up in China, then was taken to Korea, Japan,
and other countries. It expanded upon, and in some of its methods
and ideas diverged from, the Theravada tradition. In Zen, intuition
is the faculty most valued, and it is believed that
Buddhahood is not something to be achieved or developed but
exists in each of us right now. The effort then is to realize our own
already preexisting condition of enlightenment. Undoubtedly
Japanese Zen is the best-known form of American Buddhism,
having been picked up and written about by the beatniks in the
late fifties and widely popularized by writers such as Alan Watts,
D. T. Suzuki and Nancy Wilson Ross.

Tibetan Buddhism, as its name indicates, developed in the tiny
isolated country of Tibet. Because of the harsh and mountainous
conditions of its homeland and the resulting culture of its practitioners,
as well as the folk traditions from which it drew elements
of its practice, it is in some respects quite different from both
Theravada Buddhism and Zen Buddhism. It places strong emphasis
on loyalty to a teacher, and it employs techniques of visualization
and other mystical practices. While Theravada
accoutrements are usually fairly minimal and Zen in particular
tends toward extreme simplicity, Tibetan ritual and trappings are
elaborate and colorful. There are a number of different schools
of Tibetan Buddhism, with their respective leaders, but the best-known
representative is the Dalai Lama, [who is the head of state and
spiritual leader of the Tibetan people.] Because of his
flight from the Chinese invaders in the 1950s, his establishment
of a government in exile in India, and his several visits to the United States,
he is well known to the West. The Tibetans, who have
no homeland, are very active in establishing themselves in other
countries.

The Pure Land school of Buddhism, which developed in China,
rather than relying on meditation uses recitation of the name
"Amitabha" (the name of a historical Buddha) to qualify the practitioner
to be reborn in the Pure Land after death. From the
Pure Land it is possible to reach enlightenment.

The Japanese versions of Pure Land Buddhism are Jodoshu and
Jodo Shinshu, the latter being presently the largest denomination
of Japanese Buddhism.

Nichiren Buddhism is a Japanese form with various subsects (two
are Nichiren Shoshu Soka Gakkai of America and Nipponzan Myohoji),
based upon the teaching of a thirteenth-century
Japanese [religious leader] named Nichiren. It includes no silent meditation
but uses the chant "Nam myo ho renge kyo," and adherents
dedicate themselves to the goal of world peace, often engaging in
social and political action. Nichiren Shoshu of America, alone
among Buddhist sects, vigorously proselytizes and recruits
members.

Two more Japanese denominations are worth mentioning, Shingon and Tendai. Centuries ago, they were the main forms of Buddhism in Japan, but their numbers have dwindled. Still, there are a number of these temples in Japan, should they be of interest.
 

Buntaro

運動不足
Joined
27 Dec 2003
Messages
1,639
Reaction score
437
One more thing: Tokyo is a HUGE city. Which part of Tokyo will you be living, studying, or working in? Traveling across the city just to go to a temple sounds like something to avoid if you can.
 

Eden

後輩
Joined
21 Jul 2004
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
Hey thanks so much for all the info, man! uhm, ill be staying in hoya city but ill also be going to ichigaya a lot..
wow, so how come u know so much bout this?
 

Buntaro

運動不足
Joined
27 Dec 2003
Messages
1,639
Reaction score
437
Hi Eden,

My hobby is studying different religions. Feel free to ask any more religious and Buddhist questions that you may have.

I have been to Ichigaiya, but where is Hoya City?
 

Mandylion

Omnipotence personified
Contributor
Joined
15 Mar 2003
Messages
1,145
Reaction score
44
And then when you get all that figure out, we can start telling you all of the extra / changes found in Japanese interpretations of Buddhism ;-)

Cocolulu - try the lioncity.net link in Buntaro's second post for starters.
 

Buntaro

運動不足
Joined
27 Dec 2003
Messages
1,639
Reaction score
437
cocolulu_gyaru,

Shin Buddhism, also called Hongwanji or Honganji, is the largest Buddhist denomination in Japan. It was started by Shinran Shonin centuries ago, because of his unhappiness with Buddhism at that time. Shinran spent many years practicing strict ascetic practices. He finally decided that strict ascetic practices were not working for him.

He said that there is a place called the Pure Land, and that it is everyone's goal to go to the Pure Land after death. He said that the Pure Land is "ruled" by a Buddha named Amida Buddha. He believed that all we have to do to get to the Pure Land is to recite the sentence Namu Amida Butsu. With this, he dismissed all ascetic practices as unnecessary. "Just recite that sentence, and you will get to the Pure Land," he taught his followers.

Some people say that the Pure Land is similar to the Christian idea of Heaven, while other people violently disagree with this idea.

People unfamiliar with Buddhism are sometimes surprised to learn that Shin Buddhists do not believe in reincarnation.

Honganji is by far the largest denomination of Buddhism in Japan. Hongani also has temples around the world, several in California, in New York, in South America, etc.
 

wintersweet

Nihon ni itai na...
Joined
30 Jun 2004
Messages
129
Reaction score
3
Good job, Buntaro!

If people happen to get a chance to go to Koya-san, a few of the monasteries there will let you stay overnight. Koya-san is the heart of Shingon Buddhism in Japan and is worth a visit on a lot of different levels. An elderly woman at the one we stayed at came to us at dinner and told us about their sect. There was also a video in the room. (Not preachy--just informative.) We even got up in the freezing cold to attend the morning services. I highly recommend the experience.
 

Buntaro

運動不足
Joined
27 Dec 2003
Messages
1,639
Reaction score
437
Wintersweet-san!

I recently attended a church service at Koyasan Temple in Los Angeles. I was surprised to find a Shingon temple, but there it was, right in the middle of Little Tokyo.
 

cocolulu_gyaru

Watashi wa Itsuwa Juri
Joined
17 Nov 2004
Messages
22
Reaction score
1
Buntaro said:
cocolulu_gyaru,

Shin Buddhism, also called Hongwanji or Honganji, is the largest Buddhist denomination in Japan. It was started by Shinran Shonin centuries ago, because of his unhappiness with Buddhism at that time. Shinran spent many years practicing strict ascetic practices. He finally decided that strict ascetic practices were not working for him.

He said that there is a place called the Pure Land, and that it is everyone's goal to go to the Pure Land after death. He said that the Pure Land is "ruled" by a Buddha named Amida Buddha. He believed that all we have to do to get to the Pure Land is to recite the sentence Namu Amida Butsu. With this, he dismissed all ascetic practices as unnecessary. "Just recite that sentence, and you will get to the Pure Land," he taught his followers.

Some people say that the Pure Land is similar to the Christian idea of Heaven, while other people violently disagree with this idea.

People unfamiliar with Buddhism are sometimes surprised to learn that Shin Buddhists do not believe in reincarnation.

Honganji is by far the largest denomination of Buddhism in Japan. Hongani also has temples around the world, several in California, in New York, in South America, etc.

Thanks,
I understand more now cause of you 🙂
I will check out that link you posted up ^^

thanks again
 

TwistedMac

Sempai
Joined
4 Mar 2004
Messages
2,191
Reaction score
94
wintersweet said:
We even got up in the freezing cold to attend the morning services. I highly recommend the experience.
what?.. no!.. you say it like it's a good thing!
it's so wrong on so many levels! we don't want to go up in the freezing cold in the morning. we want to stay in bed (or futon) and warm ourselves, watching other people outside the window freezing their butts off!

I'll go with the religion that says "whatever you feel like is good. I'll just count your snorings as prayers"
 

Hakuen

後輩
Joined
6 Jan 2005
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
TwistedMac said:
what?.. no!.. you say it like it's a good thing!
it's so wrong on so many levels! we don't want to go up in the freezing cold in the morning. we want to stay in bed (or futon) and warm ourselves, watching other people outside the window freezing their butts off!

I'll go with the religion that says "whatever you feel like is good. I'll just count your snorings as prayers"

I would get up in the early morning and freeze my butt off for a Buddhist ceremony! I'd do it everyday...
🙂 Namu Amida Butsu,, Namu Daijo Myoho Renge Kyo
 
Top Bottom