Japanese Buddhism versus Chinese Buddhism Research Paper

Buddhism is a religion with a variety of beliefs and traditions attributed to Buddha. It is believed that Buddha lived and taught in the northern side of India in the 4th century Before Christ. Since then Buddhism has been spreading in many countries, for instance, Japan and China.

This paper looks at the introduction of Buddhism in both china and Japan. It also gives an overview of how Buddhism is viewed in both countries. It will conclude by giving some of the differences that have been observed on how Buddhism is observed in both china and Japan.

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Buddhism in China
Buddhist missionaries were sent to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the 3rd B.C. The missionaries were successful in the mission and managed to convert many people into Buddhism. Later merchants also accepted this religion after they went trading in the region. Soon after Buddhism was accepted as a religion in the whole religion and many people converted from their religions into Buddhism. The merchants who had converted into Buddhism established many monasteries across Central Asia.

It is through the Central Asians that the Chinese people accepted Buddhism as their religion. With the growth in Buddhism, there was need to create more Buddhist texts and this to into Chinese (Anon. Buddhism in East Asia: China, Korea, and Japan, 2). One such translator was Anshigao who came to china from central Asia.

From 15th century to the 16th century china was under separate rules, there was north china and south china. Buddhism flourished in both parts and translators continued to into Buddhist texts.

In the early 17th century, the Tang Dynasty was established which helped to spread Buddhism (Anon. Buddhism in East Asia: China, Korea, and Japan, 5). This Dynasty soon became an essential part of Chinese culture which has an immense sway on Chinese writings, Art and philosophy. By this time Buddhist texts translators had augmented considerably.

All the new converts could at least find some literature to read about Buddhism and this increased their understanding and overall acceptance of Buddhism as a religion. They were then faced by the challenge of how to study all the Buddhism texts that had been translated and how to conduct their teachings. To address this challenge many schools were established where people could be taught the religion of Buddhism.

Buddhism in Japan
Buddhism was introduced in Japan in the early 16th century by the king of Packche. Buddhism was later recognized as a means of restoring peace in the country among other benefits. Japanese recognized it (Buddhism) as their religious conviction thus holding it to their (Shinto) values. It was not long before harmony was restored in Japan and all this was achieved because of the introduction of Buddhism (Anon. A view on Buddhism 3).

The introduction and spread of Buddhism in Japan depended on the support that was offered by the Japanese rulers. Prince Shotoku was one of the rulers that played a very crucial part in the establishment of Buddhism in the early 20th century. He was devoted to Buddhism and helped to spread it allover Japan. Through his help, many Buddhist were built and all the new converts found a place to meet for teachings.

Differences between China Buddhism and Japan Buddhism
Since the introduction of Buddhism in china and Japan, cultures and politics have been greatly affected in both countries. In China Buddhism is one of the religions thats has many followers. For nearly two thousand years ago, many people have accepted Buddhism as their religion and have embraced the Buddhist teachings. Buddhism became popular in china in the 8th century when the was established. Later on, Buddhism art was established with some Chinese qualities (Coates 1).

Buddhism is more popular in china than in Japan. China has a wide collection of Buddhism arts than any other country in the world. There are so many structures and scriptures filled all over china to this date. Examples of the the Dazu stone and the Longmen Grottoes.

China also acts as the home of the largest Buddha statue in the world known as the Leshan Giant Buddha. On the other hand, Japan has the highest population of Buddhism in the present world. However, it is worth noting that, Buddhism was introduced to Japan from china in early 6th century. During this time, Japan was able to preserve most of the Buddhist art and scriptures from china while other countries were repressing many aspects of Buddhism.

Other paintings and sculptures were created in Japan through the help of the government; these sculptures were influenced by the Chinese Buddhist work. Japanese developed a unique Buddhist art known as Zen art, which was defined by original poetry and paintings. The purpose of the Zen art was to express a clear essence of the earth by use of impressionistic representations. Today, Buddhism is one of the largest religions in Japan, there are more than 80, 000 Buddhist temples in Japan.

Both china and Japan have their unique artistic styles. As we all know, china is one of the countries that have managed to preserve most of its cultural practices and most of the Buddhist art in china is influenced by its culture. When Buddhism was first introduced into china, most of the Chinese converted the Buddhist art into their own unique style.

The central Asia Buddhist art was quite different from the first Chinese Buddhist art which was less realistic during that time (Coates 3). After realizing this, the Chinese changed their Buddhist art into a more realistic form. Initially, they had adopted an abstract style for their art which was replaced to make it more realistic because other foreign countries were also concerned with the Buddhist art from china.

The Chinese Buddhist art was mainly influenced by other countries, for instance India which used a more realistic approach to the Buddhist art. This realistic approach is evident today in the Chinese Buddhist art which have attracted a significant large population from all over the world.

Japanese Buddhist art has relied heavily on the Chinese art since the introduction of Buddhism in Japan. This may be attributed to the fact that, Buddhism was first introduced into Japan from china through Buddhist monks that traveled from china and Korea. Then it is clear that, most of the Japanese art was influenced by the work of art that was done during Tang dynasty in china. To some extent, it was also influenced by Buddhist art from India and Korea (Coates 3).

There is a significant difference between the Chinese art and the Japanese art. This is because, Japanese art seems to be more refined than Chinese, reason being that, the Japanese art emerged from Korea, china, and India. It is worth noting that, china also borrowed from other countries but to a lesser extent than Japanese did. Japanese art focused mainly on the spirits and the gods contrary to Chinese art which focused on its culture.

Another different between the artwork of these two countries is that, Japan started Zen art which china did not have. This was a more impressionistic form of art than all the other types of Buddhist art which were present at that time.

Both countries have a feature of realism in their artwork although there are still many differences in their Buddhist art. For instance, the Chinese focuses mainly on status in the expression of their faith, while the Japanese focuses on poetry and paintings to express their beliefs.

Japanese Buddhist art was supported by the government while the Chinese government did nothing concerning the Chinese Buddhist art. Before Chinese incorporated the aspect of realism in their work, most of the art was abstract in nature as compared to the Japanese which was not at anytime interested in the abstract art. Japanese art tends to be more inclined to realistic portrayals of Buddha which has never interested the Chinese.

Today, the Buddhist art form an integral aspects to the Buddhists living in both Japan and china. The artwork is not only designed for the Buddhists but attracts a significant number of people from both countries. Many people who love art admire the Buddhist art which also acts as a form of tourist attraction. For instance, the giant statue of Buddha has become famous in most parts of the world. The Buddhist art has had a great impact in shaping cultures of people living in both japans and china.

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