Growth of Japanese Culture

Japanese Forms of Buddhism by Brenica Sipin

Japanese Forms of Buddhism

Buddhism spread rapidly in Japan, with help of Prince Shotoku. However, it did not replace the religion Shinto; they found out a way to practice buddhism with Shinto. They believed that peace and happiness can be gained by fulfilling a life of virtue and wisdom. Over the centuries, different forms, or sects, of buddhism were formed. A few different sects of buddhism were:


  • Tendai- focused on intensive study of texts
  • Shignon- attracted followers who appreciated its complex rituals
  • Amida- a belief that people might have salvation in a pure land after their death

Zen Buddhism

Zen buddhism focuses on self-discipline, simplicity, and meditation. In the early 1100s, the form of buddhism became more popular. They believed that quietness and reflection was better than doing religious ceremonies and studying scriptures. Zen focused on somebody's attempt to gain inner peace other than the thought of salvation.

Zen had a powerful affect on Japanese culture. Many samurais preferred it because they thought it would bring inner peace to them and assist them in battle. Also, many artists liked the simplicity, thus making many japanese paintings simple with dark, black lines. The sects later spread to other countries, becoming popular in the West.

What is Zen?

What Is Zen

Essiential Question: How did the Japanese adapt Buddhism?

Review: How was Japanese society affected by Buddhism?