Spread of Buddhism to Japan

After a few weeks of reading the lecture notes for this class, I'm struck by how linear the spread of Buddhism to Japan seems to be. Different from how the spread of Buddhism in India was, which was more multi-directional and parallel both in the development of schools and geography, the spread to Japan seems to follow a more set path of development. I imagine this is partly due to the political structure of Japan at the time, plus the fact that Japan is geographically isolated as an island. With each new reigning clan, came a new style of Buddhism. With each delegation sent to China or Korea, another Buddhist school of influence can be found. Very interesting stuff! I'm looking forward to completing the readings and learning more about this far-away from me place.

Spread of Buddhism during Nara Period

Dear all,

I would like to share an article related to 6 schools of Nara Buddhism.
A lot of great work done by Venerables or Masters for the spread of Buddhism.


Hope this is useful for your reference.

With Regards,
Gaik Yen

Spread of Buddhism during Nara Period

Thanks for the sharing. It is an interesting story between Ven Ganjin’s ordination platform and Ven Saicho’s bodhisattva platform.
Six Schools of Nara Buddhism were formed and Seven Great Southern Temples of Nara were built.
Emperors were great patron of Buddhism. Monks and nuns were scholars. Yet majority of populace was hardly aware of the new religion? (page 7 of lecture 2).

Spread of Buddhism during Nara Period

Dear Sister,

Regarding your note related to majority of populate was hardly aware of the new religion. I think that is possible if the "new religion" was referring to Buddhism. Just like some on the monks or so call "Buddhist" may not fully understand Buddhism which happened during the King Asoka period in history of Indian Buddhism.

With Metta,
Gaik Yen

Gregory Hamilton Schmidt's picture

Serious Monks Only

I think that given the fact that these were scholarly schools concerned with Abhidharmika doctrines of dharmas, emptiness and the role of consciousness (Kusha, Jojitsu, Sanron, Hosso), or super-esoteric (Kegon), or concerned with Vinaya (Ritsu), they'd be of little interest and practically inaccessible to the laity or non-specialist.
Also as these schools were dominated by Chinese and Korean priests and monks, I can imagine that they were neither particularly open to or welcoming of lay practitioners or the general populous.