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Japanese Buddhism Some kinds of Japanese Buddhist practice – “Funeral Buddhism” – “Community Buddhism” – Pilgrimage

Post on 19-Dec-2015




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  • Japanese Buddhism Some kinds of Japanese Buddhist practice Funeral Buddhism Community Buddhism Pilgrimage
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  • Community Buddhism Annual festivals at local temples Often relating to local history or the temple s history Takeda Shingen festival, Yamanashi Taima festival at Taimadera Local commemorations of common tradition eg. O-bon festival
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  • Pilgrimage Acting out the Buddhist path Aimed at spiritual reassurance Most famous; the Shikoku pilgrimage Most often undertaken by the elderly Other pilgrimages: related to Kannon, for example
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  • The Shikoku Pilgrimage
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  • Practice over doctrine Practice matters most; always has Many schools/sects of Buddhism Differences in practice small Most people have a formal affiliation with a temple (those statistics), but Often they don t know which temple or What sect it belongs to
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  • Goals of Japanese Buddhism Care for ancestors A good life after death This-worldly benefits Health Safety Prosperity
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  • Japanese Conceptions of the Netherworld Reincarnation and the six realms Gods Humans Asuras Animals/beasts Hungry ghosts Hell dwellers Post-death rituals aimed at ensuring the departed moves on
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  • Rise of Japanese Buddhism Entered Japan ca. 1 st -3 rd centuries CE from the Asian mainland Not a unified state, no writing system As today, Buddhism well mixed with Daoism Yin-yang belief Geomancy (directional taboos) Confucianism
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  • Formal Introduction of Japanese Buddhism Mid 500s, letter from a Korean king to a Japanese emperor The emperor embraced it but his courtiers resisted it They feared their prestige would be reduced
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  • First Buddhist institutions ca. 600-1000 CE Mainly monasteries Patronized by aristocrats Served official functions Most important: state protection Common people little served by these official institutions
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  • Medieval Buddhism True or false: Zen is the most popular kind of Buddhism in Japan False. Zen comes in at number two Most popular: Pure Land Begins to develop about the year 1000 Focuses on Amida and posthumous birth into his Pure Land (Pure Land = heaven)
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  • Medieval Buddhism II Zen comes to Japan from China about the year 1200 Embraced by the warriors who ruled Japan at the time However, many warriors held on to older family beliefs and did not embrace Zen Older schools also thrive, supported by landholdings donated over the years
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  • Buddhism in Modern Japan Buddhist temples separated from shrines (to kami, Japanese deities) Buddhism suppressed for a time in the interest of national identity Stripped of their landholdings Temple destruction in some areas Ultimately a failure
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  • New Religions Two types: Those begun by charismatic leaders claiming special visions and insights Tenri-ky, Agon-sh Popular lay movements that grew out of older Buddhist institutions Rissh Ksei-kai, Soka Gakkai
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  • Agon-sh Leader: Kiriyama Seiy
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  • Agon-sh Hoshi matsuri goma ritual
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  • Conclusion In Japan, the distant goal of awakening (enlightenment) was and is relatively not important Buddhism in its Japanese form seeks This-worldly benefits Salvation in the next life Visits to temple mostly occasional: a death in the family, festival, pilgrimage, in times of need