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Mahayana Buddhism crrs 313. 20 September 2012 Dr. Kieko obuse. Kamakura Buddhism (review). What is K amakura Buddhism? ‘Kamakura Buddhism’ as a category – what does it mean? What are the main schools of Kamakura Buddhism ? Zen (two schools) Nichiren Pure Land (two schools)

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mahayana buddhism crrs 313

Mahayana Buddhismcrrs 313

20 September 2012

Dr. Kiekoobuse

kamakura buddhism review
Kamakura Buddhism (review)
  • What is Kamakura Buddhism?
  • ‘Kamakura Buddhism’ as a category – what does it mean?
  • What are the main schools of Kamakura Buddhism?
  • Zen (two schools)
  • Nichiren
  • Pure Land (two schools)
  • (They are among the most widely represented Buddhist schools in contemporary Japan)
  • Why are they called Kamakura Buddhism?
  • (Kamakura period 1192-1333  Heian period 794-1185)
  • Perhaps we can find some clue in their teachings…
jodo shu the pure land school
Jodoshu(the Pure Land school)
  • Hōnen(1133-1212): Tendai monk
  • Regarded achieving enlightenment as impossible,
  • aiming at a rebirth in the Pure Landinstead
  • What is the (Western) Pure Land?
  • Buddha Amida (Amitabha)
  • SenchakuHonganNenbutsuShū (Choosing the Original Vow for the Recitation of the Buddha’s Name, 1198)
  • Advocated exclusive nenbutsu practice, rejecting all other practices
  • Nenbutsu (chanting the name of the Buddha): namuamidabutsu
jodo shin shu the true pure land school aka shin buddhism
Jodo-shin shu (the True Pure Land school, aka. Shin Buddhism)
  • Shinran(1173-1262): disciple of Hōnen, also trained at Mt. Hiei
  • Advocated exclusive practice of nenbutsu
  • But:
  • He married and ate meat ( revelation from the prince Shotoku)
  • (not priest, nor layperson)
  • Salvation is not attained through human effort (jiriki, self-power)
  • but through the Other-Power (tariki), i.e. salvific power of Amida
  • Only faith (shinjin) in Amida is necessary.
  • Nenbutsu is an expression of gratitude for the salvation already granted by Amida.
  • “Even a good person can attain birth in the Pure Land, so it goes without that an evil person will.”
zen 1 rinzai shu the rinzai school
Zen 1:Rinzaishu (the Rinzai school)
  • Eisai(1141-1215): trained at Mt. Hiei
  • attempted to revive Tendai
  • combined Zen and esoteric practices
  • Welcomed by the samurai (warrior class)
  • Focus on zazen(seated meditation) and kōan training
  • Kōan: stories of Zen masters (mondō) or short questions with no logical answer
  • designed to create a breakthrough of insight
  • used in mater-disciple exchanges.
  • E.g. ‘What is the sound of one-hand clapping?’
  • Kōan was systematized by Hakuin (1686-1768)
zen 2 soto shu the soto school
Zen 2:Soto shu (the Soto school)
  • Dōgen (1200-1253): initially studied under Eisai’s disciple
  • Focus on zazen:
  • shikantaza (just sitting)’ as the genuine teaching of Śākyamuni
  • ShōbōGenzō (the Treasury of the True Dharma Eye)
  • To learn the Buddha way is to learn the individual self. To learn the individual self is to forget the individual self. To forget the individual self is to be realized by all beings. To be realized by all things is both the individual self’s body-mind and the other selves’ body-mind casting off.’
  • ‘Body and mind casting off’: shinjindatsuraku
  • Later popularized among ordinary people (e.g. farmers) through non-zazen practices
nichiren shu the nichiren school
Nichirenshu(the nichiren school)
  • Nichiren (1222-1282): Tendai monk
  • Dedicated to the mission to propagate the teaching of the Lotus Sutra and to save his country
  • RisshōAnkoku Ron (Rectification for the Peace of the Nation, 1260):
  • If the people do not heed the message of the Lotus Sutra, the country will be inflicted by civil wars and foreign invasions.
  • Advocated exclusive practice of daimoku chanting
  • Daimoku: namumyohorengekyo
  • Attacked other schools (shakubuku)  exile (1271-4)
so once again
So, once again…
  • Why are they called Kamakura Buddhism as a whole?
  • Are there any commonalities among them?
  • Discussion 1 (in groups; ideas on paper)
  • Commonalities
  • Focus on one particular practice
  • Easy to practice
  • New
  • Popular (esp. among ordinary people)
  • These are often considered as the major characteristics of ‘Kamakura Buddhism’
kamakura new buddhism
Kamakura ‘new’ Buddhism?
  • Kamakura Buddhism is also sometimes called Kamakura ‘New’ Buddhism.
  • This means that these characteristics are new, and not found among the schools of Buddhism that arose before them
  • So do we have two types of Buddhism?
  • Old Buddhism and Kamakura New Buddhism?
  • Was there such a radical break between the two?
  • Was there not continuity between the two types of Buddhism?
  • Opinions are divided among scholars.
arguments against using the category kamakura new buddhism
arguments against using the category ‘Kamakura New Buddhism’
  • The founders of these schools were all educated at Mount Hiei, the headquarters of the Tendai school.
  • Their teachings are based on the concepts and practices that had developed during the previous period (i.e. the Heian period)
  • For example:
  • The devotion to Amida Buddha
  • The concept of original enlightenment (or the Buddha nature):
  • Mountains, rivers, plants and flowers all achieve enlightenment
  • The focus on the Lotus Sutra
  • The concept of ekayana (one vehicle), emphasized in the Lotus Sutra
arguments against using the category kamakura new buddhism cont
arguments against using the category ‘Kamakura New Buddhism’ (cont.)
  • Some of the schools actually had a ‘mixed’ practice, rather than focusing on one practice.
  • For example, Zen schools promoted the practice of meditation alongside performing protective rituals (Rinzai), and the ceremony of precept-giving to attract followers (Soto).
  • -- Why is this?
  • Buddhism had the role of protecting the nation.  esoteric rituals
  • Also, meditation is too difficult for ordinary people…
  • These schools were not that popular but rather marginal. The ‘traditional’ schools were still dominant during the Kamakura period. The religious landscape did not change that drastically.
  • -- Their present popularity does not mean that they were widely accepted by people from the very beginning!
why new approaches
Why new approaches?
  • Ok, let’s continue the discussion with the assumption that it is reasonable to talk about these schools as representing ‘Kamakura Buddhism.’
  • If their approaches are radically different from those of the older schools, why is that?
  • What are the factors that contributed to their emergence?
  • – social, political, economic, religious…
  • In other words:
  • Why did the founders of these schools employ such new approaches?
  • Why did they think the change was necessary?
  •  Discussion 2
factors behind the emergence of kamakura new buddhism
Factors behind the emergence of kamakura ‘New’ Buddhism
  • Some possible factors that contributed to the emergence of ‘Kamakura Buddhism’
  • Socio-political:
  • Social unrest (rise of the warrior class in late Heian period)
  • Natural disasters
  • External threat (Mongol invasions, 1274, 1281)
  •  Wish for liberation (or rebirth in the Pure Land) increased
  • Decline in observance of monastic rules among monks
factors behind the emergence of kamakura new buddhism cont
Factors behind the emergence of kamakura ‘New’ Buddhism (cont.)
  • Doctrinal:
  • These observations and sentiments found support in the concept of mappo (1052-)
  • Mappo: the Age of Final Dharma
  • - the Dharma is in serious decline
  • It is impossible to attain enlightenment through the ‘traditional’ practice.
  • The Tendai concept of original enlightenment (hongaku)
  • The notion of ekayana (emphasized in the Lotus Sutra)
  •  New approaches
so what do you think
So, what do you think?
  • Please share your thoughts on today’s discussion, and on the lecture as a whole.
  • Thank you! 
  • (feedback sheet)