Great Minds 19, Saicho to Nichiren – Japanese Buddhism

19, Saicho to Nichiren

The 19th lecture in the Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition by Dr. Grant Hardy of the University of North Carolina traces the introduction of Buddhism in Japan and its development up and till Nicheren in the 13th century (but omitting Zen Buddhism, which will be discussed in the next lecture).

Nearly all the schools were brought from Japan, not from India, and began around the 8th century, with the journey of Saicho and Kukai to China.

Suchai has some influence of Japanese Buddhism, and introduced the Tendai school of Buddhism.

Kukai was even more influential, bringing back the esoteric form of Tibetan Buddhism, with the founding of the Shingon sect, which is still very popular today.

Other figues considered in today’s short lecture include Kuya, Honen, who introduced Pure Land Buddhism, Shinran and Nichiren, from whom the Soka Gakkai sect has developed.

To cover such a large amount of schools and teachers in such a short time is really remarkable, but Dr. Hardy as always manages to discuss salient points, point out differences, and give meaningful analogies along the way.


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