The founding of temples in mountainous regions also

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Unformatted text preview: the late Heian period, it degenerated to the point where its clergy engaged in base practices, accepting fees from the laity to secure direct benefits in health, fame, and prosperity. An important trend among the new sects of Heian Buddhism was their move away from the busy centers of temporal life and political activity to mountainous, remote regions. Kyoto eventually became as clustered with temples as Nara, but at least the example was set for some temples to locate where the temptations of worldly pleasures were minimal and where monks could truly lead the disciplined and meditative religious life. Buddhism had entered Japan as part of a great reforming process aimed at centralization, and it was surely a sign of maturity that, after some two centuries, an increasing number of both secular and religious leaders saw the importance of drawing a distinction between the proper spheres of activity of the court (as an administrative body) and the Buddhist church. The Heian sects sought to sustain the idea of Buddhism as the guardian of the nation, and rowdy monks engaged in ugly quarrels over quite mundane issues; but still there was general recognition of the need henceforth to keep church and state separate. The founding of temples in mountainous regions also brought significant changes in Buddhist architecture. Only two buildings remain from the early Heian period—the golden hall and pagoda of a Shingon temple, the Muròji, situated in a dense forest of towering cryptomeria about forty miles from Kyoto—but we can tell from these, as well as from various reconstructions, what the new trends in architecture were. The orderly, garan-type layouts were abandoned by the mountain temples in favor of adapting the shapes and placement of their buildings to the special features of rough, uneven terrain. This kind of architectural integration with the natural environment seems to have been particularly to the liking of the Japanese. It was reminiscent of earlier Shinto architecture and, at the same time, r...
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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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