Talk:Buddhism in Japan

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This article was the subject of a Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment, between 10 January 2022 and 30 April 2022. Further details are available on the course page. Student editor(s): Ssimms77 (article contribs).

— Assignment last updated by Dslaym (talk) 13:57, 10 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


the last sentence in the Nara section is a messed up cut and paste. It says

"Their practice was a combination of Buddhist and Taoist elements, and the incorporation of shamanistic features of the indigenous religion.

These figures became immensely popular, and were a source of criticism towards the sophisticated academic and bureaucratic Buddhism of the capital."

The phrase "these figures" has no antecedent. I recall seeing this on another page on the internet, looking for it, but remember it was referring to the local, self-designated illiterate and unversed Buddhist shaman blends that became popular among the local population... this needs to be given its antecedent. Benguile (talk) 12:41, 8 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The content for my rewrite was taken from a list of bullet points, so this could do with some rewriting.

Also, the writeup currently lists only the active Japanese schools of Buddhism; the now extinct pre-Nara schools, eg. Sanron (Sanlun), are missing. Jpatokal 06:02, 9 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Fuke school of Zen[edit]

Added some information on this inactive school taken in part from Japanese version at 普化宗. Fg2 11:24, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Nichiren is regarded as Kamakura Buddhism. Kamakura Shogunate was officially founded in 1192 but there are decades of dominance by samurai over nobility which led to this. Also, Nichiren's polemic against Zen and Pureland is famous. Also, I put Nichiren Soshu under Nichiren and then mentioned two main division, Nichiren Shu and Nichiren Soshu. FWBOarticle 16:08, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)

In modern times, there are FOUR main paths of Buddhism,...

1. the Amidist (Pure Land) schools, 2. Nichiren Buddhism, 3. Zen Buddhism. 4. ?

Either the author has forgotten one, or there are only three. Greets, Pyren.exactely

How about 4. Esoteric Buddhism (Shingon and Tendai) ? J Heath 03:27, 8 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Japanese buddhist monk picture[edit]

I took a picture of a (probably) begging Rinzai monk by Oigawa, Arashiyama, [{Kyoto]], if somebody working on this page or any other page related to Japanese buddhism feels like it could add something to the article, please feel free to use it.

Mackan 13:55, 21 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Template:JapaneseBuddhism prototype?[edit]

In case anyone might find it of value, a tentative Template:JapaneseBuddhism has been offered at Template_talk:Buddhism#Template:Japanese_Buddhism_prototype for your consideration and manipulation. Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 04:17, 2 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Modern Buddhism[edit]

Modern Buddhist temple in Osaka.

There ought to be a section on modern Buddhism. You could even use this picture in it. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 06:33, 10 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Buddhism adopted by Mexico?[edit]

Buddhism was originally from India but it was adopted by many other countries such as China, Korea, and Japan, and Mexico. Could we have a reference for this?--Richardson mcphillips (talk) 01:14, 27 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Request - What about after the Middle Ages?[edit]

The article starts with this sentence:

The history of Buddhism in Japan can be roughly divided into three periods, namely the Nara period (710 - 794), the Heian period (794–1185) and the post-Heian period (1185 onwards).

It's as if nothing had happened after the Heian period. It would be nice if someone could cover those 800 years of history in more detail. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:22, 7 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The opening of this article has a few points that need work.

  • As noted above, leaving it at "post Heian period" seems strange to me. The article breaks it down as Kamakura period, Muromachi period, and modern period. Seems like the lede should reflect that.
  • Can anyone could say definitely (and provide a reference for) that the predominant paths of Buddhism mentioned are correct? Also, I'm assuming that it should say that these are the main denominations found in Japan; currently is sounds as though it is positing that this refers to Buddhism overall.
  • I'm not clear on why Sohei are mentioned in the first paragraph. Does it really belong in the introduction?
  • I propose adding in something describing the cultural relevance and impact Buddhism has had in Japan.
    • I further suggest building out a new section called "Buddhism in Modern Times" with more up-to-date information on the state of affairs. There is some information in the section Kamakura, Muromachi to modern period, but it should be broken out. —Zujine|talk 17:20, 24 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi Zujine. Thanks for asking!
  • I think you're right that there periods to Japanese history & Buddhism. The problem is problably, that someone just has to find the time to spend on adding information... but the following are not mentioned:
    • Azuchi-Momoyama(1573-1600)
    • Edo (or Tokugawa)(1600-1868)
    • Meiji Restoration (1868-1912)
    • Japanese Imperialism
    • Post-war
  • I have no idea if all (relevant) Buddhist schools are being mentioned.
  • Sohei in the lead (lede? I could be wrong?) seems irrelevant to me.
  • The cultural relevance and impact seems relevant to em, but again: who wants the job?
  • splitting up the Kamakura, Muromachi to modern period-section into several parts seems like a good idea to me.
Friendly regards, Joshua Jonathan (talk) 22:48, 28 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks, I'll just start going through some low-hanging fruit with these suggestions and see how much steam I pick up. BTW, here's an interesting explanation of lede and its roots. Cheers.
Ha, I said I'd start with low-hanging fruit before looking at the article. Seems you've already gone beyond that. I'll see where I can contribute. —Zujine|talk 15:30, 30 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for the lead/lede-link! As for the article: enough gaps to fill in, I'd say. But indeed, I was triggered after I responded to your question. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 03:54, 1 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Imaginary statements[edit]

In the Section of Post War Japan, there is a strong tendency to say that Buddhism was/is on the decline. The editor who propagates this view even measured the rate of decline as = 100 temples closure per year!! Whatever period one gives to "Post War" - at the rate of 100 temple closure per year we have thousands of empty buildings!

The next statement confuses readers more - saying that 70% of the population are still Buddhist , however 90% of these 70% practice Funeral Buddhism!! While it is true that some temples practice rituals for marriages and death ceremonies, this does not mean that Buddhism is declining at a slope of 100temples/year or that 90% of the 70% are practicing funerals…. It is true that the war caused lot of distrust to religion in general, in particular to the religions which supported the war and defeated Japan. These imaginary statements require clean up - and reliable sources of the growth in so called "New Religions" which attracted world wide attention and universities study should be mentioned.SafwanZabalawi (talk) 02:23, 14 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Safwan, you are trying to repute facts with opinion. You can't claim certain statements are "imaginatory" just because they don't, for whatever reason, SEEM true to you. There are loads of abandoned and dismantled Buddhist temples in Japan. I happen to live quite near two (that I know of). The NY Times article quoted states that the number of temples decreased to 85,994 in 2006, from 86,586 in 2000. That's quite close to 100 per year, though we might want to have a more recent number. I found one for 2011 here: [1], listing some 85,343 Buddhist temples. That's an additional 651 temples disappearing since 2006, i.e. MORE than 100 per year. (talk) 10:02, 3 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hmm, I actually looked up the official data (available here [2] - 23-22 A) and it turns out the NY Times article isn't entirely correct - it's not the number of Buddhist temples that has decreased at that rate, but the amount of Buddhist organizations. The amount of Buddhist temples in 2011 was 75,935, compared to 76,015 two years prior - meaning we're looking at a closure rate of 35 temples per year, not 100. But it's also worth noting that the total amount of temples is actually higher than in 1985 - when there were 75,574 Buddhist temples throughout Japan. The number of adherents has however been in steady decline, since 1995 - 116,922,000, compared to 100,771,000 in 2011 (remember that the population has also increased by some 3 million since then). (talk) 10:20, 3 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry, the numbers I just quoted on adherents was wrong, that was for Shinto adherents. The correct figures for Buddhists are 96,255,000 in 1990, to 84,708,000 in 2011, though it's not as linear as for Shinto adherents. Almost just as steep though. (talk) 10:30, 3 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Rewriting history?[edit]

The following text seems to be an attempt to project SGIs (noble) postwar positions on nationalism, global citizenship and war to Soka Kyoiku Gakkai s positions in the prewar period (Japanese Imperialism):

In the same time of the Suzuki's views, another teaching emerged in Japan advocating the concept of humanism [20][21] and “world citizenship”,[22][23] taking a strong position against Japanese nationalism, uncompromisingly describing its essence as the “perverse nature of nationalism”[24] and: “Nationalism could be described as a cult of power” [25] With the appearance of new Buddhist movements such as Risshō Kōsei Kai and Soka Gakkai who are both NGO at the United Nations,[26] a considerable focus in Japanese Buddhism is made on the concept of global citizenship [27] as the ground of the practice of Bodhisattva[28] which is an essential doctrine in Mahayana Buddhism.

The use of sources in this context appears to be strange. JimRenge (talk) 12:39, 3 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have removed the text quoted above because the claim that Soka Gakkai (and Risshō Kōsei Kai?) took "a strong position against Japanese nationalism" is misleading and is not supported by the sources. --JimRenge (talk) 11:08, 24 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would also challenge this sentence here "Contrary to the ritualistic practice of traditional Buddhism, a revived modern form of Nichiren's Buddhism led by lay believers Soka Gakkai “…grew rapidly in the chaos of post war Japan’ [28] from about 3000 members in 1951 to over 8 million members”in 2000,[33] and has established schools, colleges and a university, as well as cultural institutions" The lay buddhist movement is not a sole SGI issue, SGI might be a large group amongst those but not the only one. Seems like advertising yet again.--Catflap08 (talk) 18:40, 25 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree.
The post-war development of lay-buddhist organizations is an important fact which should be mentioned with a neutral point of view. The statistic table in the Japanese new religions article shows that several mostly Nichiren inspired lay buddhist organizations grew rapidly in post-war Japan. The most successful among these were Reyukai, Rissho Koseikai and Soka Gakkai. Today most of these groups engage in social and/or cultural projects. (I think it would not be helpful to name too many of these groups) JimRenge (talk) 21:13, 25 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Maybe you could come up with an alternative wording more general in nature.--Catflap08 (talk) 07:32, 26 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nichiren-Buddhism has some devoted editors here at Wikipedia, which explains the tone. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:28, 26 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I know … even though I am myself quite engaged in matters related to Nichiren Buddhism I refrain as much as I can on editing articles related to SGI. Too much hassle. --Catflap08 (talk) 08:46, 26 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I will try to reword this. JimRenge (talk) 10:26, 26 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Same goes for the section "Japanese Imperialism" bit over the top and yet again not only a sole SGI issue.--Catflap08 (talk) 13:10, 26 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have summarized the role of Soka Gakkai in the "Japanese Imperialism" section. Details may be reused in the Soka Gakkai article if not already present. (see WP:WEIGHT). --JimRenge (talk) 12:26, 27 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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Monk Labor[edit]

What, if any content, should be included of the labor of monks in Japan? I ask due to this article.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 00:57, 17 May 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Japanese culture maintained an uneasy relation to Buddhist culture"?[edit]

The statement "Japanese culture maintained an uneasy relation to Buddhist culture. While the Chinese culture was admired, Buddhism was also regarded as a strange influence." does not appear to make sense. It appear to be Shinbutsu bunri -someones perspective - perhaps what Department of Divinity ("jingikan") established in 1869 might have promoted as a part of newly developed State Shinto doctrine. Malaiya (talk) 01:37, 7 July 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Problems re Kamakura Buddhism, Zen schools[edit]

I hesitate to think that I could offer any improvement to this awe-inspiring article, but here goes.

The section Buddhism_in_Japan#Kamakura_Buddhism appears under Buddhism_in_Japan#Japanese_Buddhist_schools, suggesting to naive readers such as myself that Kamakura is a school of Japenese Buddhism. Of course, it's nothing of the sort, but merely a scholarly misnomer for Buddhism during the Kamakura period in Japenese history. I would prefer the more accurate title, Buddhism during the Kamakura Period.

The first sentence of the section Buddhism_in_Japan#Zen_Schools hides its subject through the use of passive voice. As god is my witness (I mean Grammarly), this is usually a bad idea. The long second sentence is undocumented, surprising, and unexplained. This paragraph, like several others, reads as if it were part of an article titled "History of Buddhism in Japan." Here are a couple of alternate ways to start out that the naive reader may find more useful, one from Brittanica, and one that I just came up with:

Zen, Chinese Chan, Korean Sŏn, also spelled Seon, Vietnamese Thien, [is an] important school [tradition] of East Asian Buddhism that constitutes the mainstream monastic form of Mahayana Buddhism in China, Korea, and Vietnam and accounts for approximately 20 percent of the Buddhist temples in Japan. ~

Missing Citations[edit]

I'm not too sure if anybody's on this yet, but...

There are quite a few missing citations that seem that they have been in limbo since 2013. They're not hard to find, skimming through the article will be enough to locate the majority of the missing citations. Thanks in advance. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Criag S. (talkcontribs) 22:54, 5 May 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Main article: Japanese Zen. The Zen tradition began with the Chinese meditation master Bodhidharma. Bodhidharma's emphasis on meditation distinguishes Zen from earlier forms of Buddhism that emphasized reading, memorizing and commenting on sutras, or forms that emphasized chanting such as Pure Land. The Chinese word for meditation is Ch'an, which got transliterated to Zen when Eisai, Dōgen, Ingen, and others brought Ch'an to Japan.

Page Notes (talk) 01:56, 26 September 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

NPOV problems[edit]

A user whose many IPs all geolocate to the same position in Pune, India, has been repeatedly making edits that do not adhere to the neutral point of view policy. The edits have misrepresented sources, such as this: [3], claiming to indicate that 96% of the population are Buddhists, or edits that show only the ACA figures of about 67% and ignore other reliable sources and estimates that put it much lower, at 20-40%. The user's edits have a long history of incorrectly inflating the number of Buddhists, with improperly cited or unsourced/original content, in many articles, for example: [4]. I'm asking them to stop doing this, otherwise the article(s) may need to be protected from IP editing. Their IP today was 2409:4042:2512:56c0::2003:a8a5 (talk). I and others have left many warnings and tried to contact them via their talk pages, with no response. I hope they will see this. --IamNotU (talk) 13:31, 9 July 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]