Japanese Buddhism

place sacred to BuddhismBuddhist Columns & Dharma Talks

The Life of Buddha (Shakyamuni Buddha) as Seen from Buddhist Courses and Local Photographs] Article List - Please use this list as a table of contents.

This series of articles will give you a sense not only of Buddha's life, but also of the atmosphere of Indian society at that time. I am sure this will be an exciting experience for all of you.

Although "learning about religion and Buddhism" may sound pretentious, I hope that you will take it easy and experience the life of the great Buddha.

IndiaBuddhist Columns & Dharma Talks

(25) A very brief history of Buddhism after Buddha's death - The history and propagation of the Buddhist cult. Also a few words on the introduction of Buddhism to Japan.

In this article, I will give a very brief overview of the history of Buddhism since the death of the Buddha, as well as a summary of the 21 articles in this series. Although it is too reckless to summarize more than 2,000 years of history spanning the globe in a single page, we believe that it will be useful for you to understand the flow of Buddhism.

Buddhist Thought 5Japanese Buddhism and its History

Buddhist Thought 5: Absolute Truth - A recommended commentary to learn about the thought of the Lotus Sutra and the Tendai currents in China and Japan!

When we Japanese think of Tendai, we usually think of the Tendai Sect founded by Saicho of Enryaku-ji Temple on Mount Hiei. The teachings of the Lotus Sutra were transmitted from India to Japan via China.

This book is a recommended work to learn about the history and thought content of the "Lotus Sutra".

In addition, this book also discusses the historical background of the period, so it is fascinating to look at Tendai Buddhism from a larger perspective. I also believe that it is very important to study Tendai Buddhism and the Lotus Sutra in order to understand the foundation of Japanese Buddhism. This book is an excellent introduction to the Tendai sect and the Lotus Sutra. It is very interesting.

Buddhist Thought 4Buddhism in India

Buddhist Thought 4: Recognition and Transcendence <唯識〉 - A recommended commentary on the highest level of Mahayana Buddhist thought!

While "Buddhist Thought 2: Analysis of Existence " introduced in the previous article explained Abhidharma, the pinnacle of Buddhist philosophy in Theravada Buddhism (or more precisely, Theravada Buddhism), this work, "Buddhist Thought 4: Recognition and Transcendence " is a recommended reference book on the philosophy of wisdom, considered the pinnacle of Mahayana Buddhist thought. The book is a highly recommended reference book on the highest level of Mahayana Buddhist thought.

In this book, we will first look at what materialism is in the first place and from what historical aspect it has emerged. For us readers, it would be too strict to start with an esoteric idea. Therefore, this book is an introductory book, so we will start by looking at the process of its formation rather than the esoteric philosophy of materialism and get a rough overall picture of it. This was very helpful to read.

Buddhist Thought 3 AbhidharmaBuddhism in India

Buddhist Thought 2: Analysis of Existence (Abhidharma)" - Why are Abhidharma and Kusha Theory important? What is their significance? Recommended commentary!

This book, "Buddhist Thought 2: Analysis of Existence (Abhidharma)" is the second volume in the "Buddhist Thought Series. This series has long been a favorite bestseller as an introduction to Buddhist thought, and my Buddhist studies professor recommends this series.

The theme of this book is Abhidharma, which is a huge obstacle not only for general readers but also for us monks. Although the image of "Abhidharma = difficult and complicated" has already been created, you will learn in this book how significant this Buddhist idea of Abhidharma is for the study of Mahayana Buddhism as well.

Mahayana Buddhism Sasaki KanBuddhism in India

Kan Sasaki, "Mahayana Buddhism: Where is Buddha's Teaching Headed?" - An important book for considering Japanese Buddhism in the first place!

I knew the term Mahayana Buddhism, and I knew that Japan was a Mahayana Buddhist country, but I had no idea what this Mahayana Buddhism was all about. But I had no idea what this Mahayana Buddhism was all about.
This is not only true for general readers, but in fact, many monks themselves may feel the same way.
As monks, we too learn the basics of Buddhism, but we tend to focus on studying the doctrines of our own sect.
Of course, I have learned what Mahayana Buddhism is and the characteristics of the major Japanese sects, but to be honest, it is difficult to go into the details of the process of its formation, scriptures, and doctrines.
In this aspect, this book is a very significant commentary for monks of all sects.

What is ordination?Buddhism in India

Kan Sasaki, "What is an ordained priest?" - What is a priest in the first place? Recommended reference book for thinking about Japanese Buddhism and precepts.

As the title of this book suggests, "What is ordination? Some may get the impression from the introduction that this book sounds difficult, but rest assured, it is not. The narrative of Dr. Kan Sasaki is very easy to understand and read.

The book also discusses the uniqueness of such Japanese Buddhism. After all, it is only by comparing the two that we can see what we can see. The book is also very stimulating because it provides a detailed look at the actual conditions of life in early Buddhism in India and Sri Lanka.

荘園Japanese Buddhism and its History

Shunichi Ito, "Manors: From the Kenda Eien Private Property Law to the Onin Rebellion" - Japanese History from the perspective of manors! Also recommended to learn about the relationship between temples and manors.

As the title of the book suggests, "Shoen: From the Kenda Eien Private Property Law to the Onin Rebellion" focuses on "manors," which have had a major impact on Japanese history. The book is a fascinating look at Japanese history from the perspective of "manors," a viewpoint that may seem unlikely, but it is one that is hard to find.

The connection between temples and manors is also significant in considering Japanese Buddhism. Religion is not only about religion. Political economy, historical background, and everything else is connected. In this sense, the manor house, which served as a major economic base and the site for the development of information and technology, is also a major point of reference.

聖武天皇Japanese Buddhism and its History

Shinji Yoshikawa, "History of the Emperors, Volume 02: Emperor Shomu and the Buddhist Capital Heijo-kyo" - Recommended for learning about the history of the Nara period and the flow of Buddhism!

I found the section in the second half of the book on how the capital was moved from Heijo-kyo to Heian-kyo very stimulating. It is often said that the capital was moved from Heijo-kyo to Heian-kyo to distance itself from Buddhist powers, but it was interesting to learn that this was not actually the case, and that a major factor was a shift in the emperor's imperial lineage.

It is also interesting to look at the Nara and Heian periods from perspectives that we do not usually consider, such as the difference between the roles of the Buddhist capital Heijo-kyo and the political city of Heian-kyo.

The book itself was very easy to read and I was able to read it easily.

This is a recommended reference book to get an overall picture of the Nara and early Heian periods.

Chinese History 06Chinese Buddhism, Thought and History

History of China 06: The Glamorous World Empire, Sui and Tang Dynasties" - A book in which you can also learn about the Tang Dynasty envoys, Buddhism, and Ennin!

日本史でも馴染み深い隋唐ですが、実際のところはどんな政治状況だったのかということはこれまで私もほとんど知りませんでした。隋や唐が巨大な勢力を誇った世界帝国だったという漠然としたイメージ以外はあまりありませんでした。それこそ豪華絢爛な中国文化というイメージです。

ですがこの本ではこれら隋唐がどのような経緯で建国され、衰退していったかを詳しく見ていくことになります。そして何より、中国全土を統治するというとてつもない難事業をどのように行おうとしていたのかというのは非常に興味深かったです。

現代のような通信手段がない中でどうやって広大な国土を治めるのか。そのことについて改めて考えさせられるのがこの本です。