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Buddhism In Thirteenth Century Japan

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Lee T.
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  1. Introduction
  2. The Japanese monks Saicho and Kukai
  3. The idea of universal Buddhahood
  4. The founding of the Pure Land School
  5. Conclusion
  6. Works cited

In 794, Emperor Kammu of Japan moved the capital from Nara to Heian, in an attempt to separate the in-fluential Buddhist sects of Nara from the state. This led to the development of Heian Buddhism, which is identified by the idea that everyone can attain Buddhahood. Even with this belief, the Heian school was still separated from the common people by sharing ?secret doctrines only[with] the initiated? and by stating they are protectors of the state, making it the religion of the elite (Lu, ed., Japan A Documentary History 1997: 51, 52). Essentially, esoteric Heian Buddhism was ?catering to the whims of the privileged? (Lu, ed., Japan A Documentary History 1997: 117). In contrast, the Kamakara Buddhist schools tried ?to bring Buddhist teachings closer to the people? (Lu, ed., Japan A Documentary History 1997: 120) where reading of the Buddhist scriptures weren't as stressed.

Key words- Saicho, Kukai, Shingon, Tendai, Buddhahood, Kamakura age, Zen Buddhism, Nichiren, Rinzai and Soto.

[...] Although Buddhism was started in India, Nichiren taught that the religion has reached its peak in Japan. The Nichiren sect was militant in its teaching, first popular with samurai, but then eventually gaining ground with the peasant class. The Kamakura schools brought a great change to Buddhism. Before they came around, esoteric Heian Buddhism was dominant, yet was more for the rich. Compared to esoteric schools, with their many rituals and focus on reading of scriptures, the Kamakura schools were very simple. [...]


[...] Buddhism In Thirteenth Century Japan In 794, Emperor Kammu of Japan moved the capital from Nara to Heian, in an attempt to separate the influential Buddhist sects of Nara from the state. This led to the development of Heian Buddhism, which is identified by the idea that everyone can attain Buddhahood. Even with this belief, the Heian school was still separated from the common people by sharing ?secret doctrines only . [with] the initiated? and by stating they are protectors of the state, making it the religion of the elite ed., Japan A Documentary History 1997: 51, 52). [...]

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