Japanese Buddhism - Introduction to Japanese Buddhism...

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Introduction to Japanese Buddhism 日日日日日日
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Queries 1. What s the religion of Japan? 2. How did Japanese people associate Buddhist figures with native spirits/deities? 3. What was new about Buddhism? 4. How was Buddhism made meaningful? 5. How did new schools of Buddhism of medieval era differ from before? 6. What can we learn from “Dreams” text? 7. Modern image of established Buddhism?
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1. Buddhism rather than “Shintō” is the most prominent religion in Japanese history. No pre-Buddhist Japan. Buddhism: elaborate theology, ritual code, ecclesiastical community, scriptures.
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2. People associated Buddhas and bodhisattvas with powers of native spirits/deities ( kami ). Perceived “Benefits” ( riyaku 利利 ).
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3. What Buddhism offered: Rituals: cremation; thwart disasters. New cosmology: karma/rebirth. Salvific way: suggestions of nirvana.
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4. How Buddhism made meaningful? Tales of karmic retribution + Buddhist wonders. Lineages: Scholastic, functionaries. Charismatic persons: hijiri (holy ones ) sometimes even bodhisattvas.
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利利 利利利利利利 (Images of historical persons who became hijiri— even warriors who became hijiri )
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5. “New” “Schools” of Medieval Era: reaction to problems. First Japanese Buddhist Lineages: Tendai and Shingon. Tendai: Catholic approach, emphasis on Lotus Sutra .
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利利利利利利 (Enryakuji Temple, on Mount Hiei, center of Tendai 天天 )
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Shingon: Esoteric Buddhism; initiation = verbal formulae (Sk. mantra ), hand gestures, meditation to attain Buddhahood in this body.
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利利利利利利 (Entrance to Kongobuji temple, center of Shingon 天天 )
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利利 利利 (“Golden Hall” and “Great Reliquary” at Kongobuji)
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利利利 (Oku-no-in cemetery at Kongobuji)
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(Monks performing esoteric rite at Kongobuji)
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