Its basic scripture the lotus sutra purportedly

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Unformatted text preview: Emishi were in fact ethnically the same as the Japanese, but were not incorporated into the Yamato state when it was established in the central and western provinces during the fourth through the sixth centuries. In any event, after several failures, armies dispatched by the Heian court finally inflicted decisive defeat on the Emishi in the early years of the ninth century and thus eliminated the threat posed by these ferocious tribesmen on the eastern frontier. After the move to Kyoto, the court attempted to encourage the activities of Buddhist prelates who would devote their attention to spiritual rather than worldly matters. Among the first to receive court patronage was Saichò (767–822), who journeyed to China in 804 and returned to found the Tendai sect of Buddhism at the Enryakuji, a temple he had earlier opened on Mount Hiei northeast of Kyoto. The Enryakuji was in a particularly favorable spot, since it was believed that evil spirits invaded from the northeast and it could serve as guardian of the capital. Tendai was broadly founded on the teachings of the Mahayana or Greater Vehicle school of Buddhism. Its basic scripture, the Lotus Sutra, purportedly contained Gautama’s last sermon, in which he revealed to his disciples the universality of the buddha potential. The Buddha asserted that until this time he had allowed individuals to practice Hinayana, the Lesser Vehicle, and to seek their own enlightenments. Now mankind was prepared for the final truth that everyone could attain buddhahood. In the Buddha’s words as found in the sutra: Those harassed by all the sufferings— To them I at first preached Nirvana Attainable by one’s own efforts. Such were the expedient means I employed To lead them to Buddha-wisdom. Not then could I say to them, “You all shall attain to Buddhahood.” The Court at Its Zenith 50 For the time had not yet arrived. But now the very time has come And I must preach the Great Vehicle.1 We noted that the universalistic concept of Mahayana was accompanied both by a tendency to regard the B...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.

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