Japanese way of thinking
Japanese way of thinking
Buddhism in Japan
Buddhism is not Zen.
Perhaps Western people misunderstand about Buddhism. They may think Buddhism is Zen.
Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki introduced Japanese culture of Zen to Western countries. His works is great.
Two roots of Buddhism
Gotama Siddhattha began Buddhism in the 6th BC in India.
Later, Buddhism went northward, saying "Mahayana Buddhism."
And Buddhism went southward, saying "Theravada."
The south Buddhism is quite different from the north Buddhism. I will tell about the north Buddhism. The north Buddhism went from India to China, from China to Korea, ｆrom Korea to Japan.
Strangely, in India, China and Korea, Buddhism have weakened or almost disappeared. At least, in those 3 countries Buddhism is not a main religion.
Buddhism came to Japan.
Buddhism arrived at Japan in 538. Then, a war occurred because Japanese Shinto denied Buddhism. Soga army with Buddhism won Mononobe army with Shinto. Buddhism won Shinto.
Japanese Emperor welcomed Buddhism, perhaps because Buddhism came with superior culture of China and Korea. Japanese learned a lot from China and Korea. Japan developed in a short time.
How about Japanese Shinto? Disappeared? No. Buddhism didn't remove Shinto. Japanese Shinto worship great many Kami; Kami means God, but isn't like God of Christianity. Buddhism also has many Buddha. Gotama Siddhattha is Buddha. There are many other Buddha. Buddha isn't Kami. Do you think there was conflict? No, strangely.
Japanese accepted Buddhism.
Japanese emperors accepted Buddhism more and more with superior culture. Thought of Buddhism went everywhere in Japan. Japanese life was based on Buddhism. That has remained now.
Japanese learned Buddhism. Learning is not giving up myself. Japanese transformed Buddhism to Japanese life and culture. Of course Buddhism is Buddhism. But should any religion be interpreted with the localization?
Japanese regarded Japanese Kami as Buddhist saint. Buddhism and Shinto fused into Japanese Buddhism.
I know you want to say "Such belief is wrong!" OK. I don't want to say Japanese is superior to you. Just I want to tell you about Japanese. I respect your religion and your faith. I don't deny you. I only say that Japanese way of thinking is different from yours.
Christianity came to Japan.
Christianity came to Japan in 1549 by Francisco de Xavier from Spain. King of Japan, Nobunaga Oda, welcomed Christianity. But since the 17th century, King of Japan, Tokugawa, forbade Christianity. At the same time kings Tokugawa shut out trading with other countries. They closed Japan for 260 years. Japanese Christians were oppressed severely. However they kept their faith secretly. They were great.
Buddhism were broken.
In 1868, Japan was opened to other countries. The period of samurai ended. The new government broke Buddhism to make strong army. Buddhism is not useless for army, because Buddhism require people nothing. Politics can't use Buddhism as the method to control people. Those days' government used Shinto for strong army. Shinto says, "Japanese Kami, Amaterasu, has made Japan. Japanese emperors, Tenno, continues from Amaterasu. So Tenno was God." People must obey God. The government used Shinto for political purpose.
Japan went to the war.
You know, Japan got the Pacific War against USA. Why did Japanese agree the war? For Tenno. For Kami. Of course, Tenno and Kami were used for the war. Those days Japanese got away the law of cause and effect. If Japanese think of the law of cause and effect, we can understand the war would bring the miserable effect. If so, we didn't injure ourselves.
The freedom of religions.
After the war, Japan has changed. Ironically USA, enemy against us, helped us. We have got freedom of religions. There are various religions in Japan now. That's wonderful. Nobody is oppressed for religion.
However we are based on Buddhism, because Buddhism has given us very large influence.