In this chapter:
Buddhism arrived in 552 AD in a Japan that already had a national religion
Buddhism was easily accepted by the Japanese because it complemented their original religion, Shinto
The new religion was not adopted by the masses until the thirteenth century. Today 75 percent of the Japanese population is Buddhist
There are two dominant Buddhist schools in Japan today, Zen and True Pure Land
Buddhists worship at temples, which are grander and more complex structures than Shinto temples
Zen developed in medieval times. Zen teaches that the way to inner peace is through meditation and self-control. Zen Buddhism was adopted by the samurai warriors. The samurai meditated before going into combat as a way to prepare mentally. From the Zen Buddhists Japan has the tea ceremony and meditation gardens.
True Pure Land
Buddhists who follow the True Pure Land school of thought believe that salvation can be achieved through simple prayer. The monks of True Pure Land differ from other Buddhist monks in two distinct ways. The monks of True Pure Land are allowed to eat meat and get married. Marriage and eating meat is forbidden to the monks who follow other schools of Buddhism.
The Buddhist place of worship is the temple. The architecture of Buddhist temples is much more complex than that of the Shinto temples. Buddhist temples often have several structures. A temple can include a pagoda, large hall, lecture hall and living quarters for the monks or nuns. See image 3.
The Buddhist temple in Nara, which is on the island of Honshu south of Tokyo city, is the oldest structure in Japan. This temple, called Horyuji, was built around 600 AD. The temple was rebuilt after a fire in 670 AD. See image 4.See animation 1.