Picken looks at the introduction of Buddhism into Japan, how it was received and how it influenced and continues to influence the cultural mentality of the Japanese people in Part 7 of his “Death in the Japanese Tradition” series. The decisive influence at the early stage was Prince Shotoku (572-621) who promoted Buddhism on the grounds both of his own personal belief and the belief that it was a great bearer of a higher civilization.
The inner machinations of the Imperial court itself, and the close relationship between the Soga and Imperial clans, with the Soga clan’s promotion of Buddhism, need not detain us here.
Local, seasonal food might be a relatively new trend in American cooking, but in Japan it’s part of a Buddhist tradition that dates back centuries.Japanese monks are now teaching a new generation of chefs to use seasonal ingredients – and zen principles – to elevate their cooking.(Kitagawa, Joseph, Institutional control of religion is a feature of the Nara period.During the sixth to eighth centuries, the privileged priestly classes gradually emerged.While Buddhism was welcomed by the ruling nobles as Japan's new state religion, it did not initially spread among the common people due to its complex theories.
There were also a few initial conflicts with Shinto, Japan's native religion.
Nevertheless, the problem of politically ambitious and militant monasteries remained a main issue for the governments over many centuries of Japanese history.
During the early Heian Period, two new Buddhist sects were introduced from China: the Tendai sect in 805 by Saicho and the Shingon sect in 806 by Kukai. Among these, the most important ones are mentioned below: In 1175, the Jodo sect (Pure Land sect) was founded by Honen.
Of the main branches of Buddhism, it is the Mahayana or "Greater Vehicle" Buddhism which found its way to Japan.
Buddhism was imported to Japan via China and Korea in the form of a present from the friendly Korean kingdom of Kudara (Paikche) in the 6th century.
Buddhism originated in India in the 6th century BC.