History10 Week 10 Reading.pdf - The introduction of...

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The introduction of Buddhism and its subsequent acceptance by the Japanese court resulted in the submergence of Shinto, the native religion, for many years. The local cults of Shinto continued to be the prevailing religion even when Buddhism was triumphant at the court. In the attempt to systematize Shinto, we can detect the influence of Chinese-style administration and Buddhist practices. In the late Nara period (late 700s), Buddhist monks and nuns had participated in the Great Thanksgiving Festival, one of the most sacred Shinto celebrations, and Empress Shotoku declared on that occasion that she considered it her duty (having returned to the throne as a nun), ‘‘first to serve the Three Treasures (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha), then to worship the Gods, and next to cherish the people.’’ The union of the two religions was further promoted in 768 whena Buddhist temple was erected next to the Ise Shrine, the holiest imperial shrine and Shinto sanctuary, and from this time on, many Shinto shrines included temples and Buddhist priests who served both religions.
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