History of Buddhism in Japan

Buddhism originated in India in the 5th century AD. of C. It consists of the teachings of the Buddha Siddharta Gautama. One of its many branches is known as the Mahayana, and it is the branch that reached Japan.

Buddhist altar 2

Buddhism came to Japan through China and Korea in the 6th century. Although it was well received by the Japanese, this religion did not spread among the common population due to the complexity of the religion. There were initial conflicts with Shintoism, the native religion of Japan. The two religions soon managed to coexist and even complement each other.

During the Nara Period, the capital’s Buddhist monasteries, such as Todaiji, they managed to have a lot of political influence and it was one of the reasons why the capital moved to Nagaoka in 784 already Kyoto in 794. However, the problem of political and military ambition of monasteries continued to be a problem within Japan throughout its history.

zen garden

During the Heian Period, two new Buddhist sects were introduced from China: The Tendai sect in 805 by Saicho and the Shingon sect in 806 by Kukai. Later there were more divisions within the Tendai sect. In 1911 the Zen sect. His theories became popular especially in the military class. According to the Zen teachings, one can achieve revelation through discipline and meditation. Currently the Zen sect is more popular abroad than in Japan.

Oda Nobunaga Y Toyotomo Hideyoshi they fought against the Buddhist military class in the late 16th century and virtually eliminated the political influence of religion. These religious institutions were also attacked in the Meiji period, when the government favored Shinto as the state religion and tried to separate it from Buddhism.

buddhist altar

Currently exist 90 million practitioners of Buddhism in Japan. However, religion does not directly affect the daily life of the Japanese. Funerals are celebrated according to Buddhist tradition, and many houses have an altar inside to pray to their ancestors.

What characterizes Buddhism is that it is a religion that offers a spiritual path to transcend the suffering of existence. The Samsara It is considered that it is the cycle of birth, death and reincarnation to which all beings are subject, and that it is the product of the consequences of karma, the sum of bad actions that accumulate throughout the different lives of that being. Liberation from Samsara is achieved through a transcendent knowledge in which greed, hatred and delusion are overcome and one passes into nirvana.