The Concept of Salvation in Japanese Buddhism?

I keep seeing the concept of salvation over and over in my current studies of Japanese Buddhism, i.e. the need to be saved, soteriology, etc. At first I thought it was an anomaly or a mistranslation, but it keeps popping up. I never noticed this before in my previous studies of Indian Buddhism. Is this a result of the emergence of Christianity? But it certainly pre-dates the arrival of Christianity on the shores of Japan. The Tibetans of Tsongkhapa's time seem to be aware of Christianity, but don't seem to be obsessed with salvation. Does this at least partially explain the popularity of Zen and its return to the emphasis on Enlightenment? And then there's liberation. Are these three different terms for the same experience?

Pei Wan's picture

I think there is no relation

I think there is no relation with the emergence of Christianity. Buddhism has been emerged into the daily life of Japanese together with the Shinto, The beauty of the Buddhism that I love the most is the ability of Buddhism to emerge and fused together to the local culture. Buddhism teaching is more on the improving own and find the kind and compassion within ourselves. It is great that it can fused into daily life and improving life.

Sergio Leon Candia's picture

Interesting indeed. I think

Interesting indeed. I think most interpretations of the Dhamma have some sort of soteriology mixed with their ancient beliefs. In my opinion the liberation would have to do with being free of the asavas.
I dont think in the japanese case would have to do with christianity but I cannot find a relationship with shinto either.

Earl Hardie Karges's picture

Salvation in Japanese Buddhism

On the surface, to me the concept suggests the personal savior 'sky father' sort of creator God of the Abrahamic monotheistic religions, but I suppose to be saved from one's own defilements could be a similar psychological need. Or maybe it's a more modern need? It could reflect the increasing inter-dependency of modern societies, in which people feel less in control of their own lives, and more dependent on something 'other' for self-fulfillment, something that once might have been accomplished by obeisance to the prevailing royal family or village 'Big Man'. It's an interesting idea, that we humans have some innate need for salvation, whether from outside or inside...