Growth of Japanese Culture

Japanese Forms of Buddhism, Devin Chang

How did the Japanese adapt Buddhism?

Buddhism began in the 500s b.c, on the teachings of a former prince, Siddhartha Gautama. It eventually spread to China, and then to Korea.

Buddhism Spreads in Japan

Due to the fact that Buddhism was supported by Prince Shotoku, it spread rapidly in Japan. In the beginning, Buddhism was mainly practiced alongside Shinto by the nobles, eventually the common people adapted it as well. The belief that peace and happiness could be gained by living a life of virtue and wisdom was appealing to the noble and common people.

Different forms of buddhism were formed in Japan such as

  • The Tendai
  • The Shingon
  • The Amida
  • The Zen

Time-lapse -- building a Japanese Garden

Zen Buddhism

Until the beginning of the 1100s, Zen was not that common, its emphasis on self-discipline, simplicity and meditation made followers believe that it was more useful than the long performing ceremonies. It focused mainly on the idea of peace rather than the idea of salvation. Zen had a great influence on Japanese culture after it became a major school of Buddhism. Artists, common people, Samurais, all favored zen.

Essential Question

How did the Japanese adapt Buddhism?

Review Question

How was the Japanese society affected by Buddhism?