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By Kenji Matsuo

This primary significant research in English on eastern Buddhism by means of one in every of Japan's such a lot wonderful students within the box of spiritual reviews is to be greatly welcomed. the main target of the paintings is at the culture of the monk (o-bo-san) because the major agent of Buddhism, including the old procedures in which clergymen have constructed eastern Buddhism because it seems to be at the moment.

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In order to have Japanese monks recognized as fully qualified monks in East asia, which for Japan in those days meant the ‘whole world’, it was essential to introduce the ordination system authorized in China, the then leader of East asia, whereby biku-to-be should pledge to observe the precepts provided for in Shibunritsu in the presence of the three mentoring monks and seven witnessing monks. this was the main reason for inviting at least ten biku from China. Having Jianzhen in Japan, the state-regulated bikuqualifying system, also authorized by China, was established.

Further, the Hosso# sect explained that people had five different abilities, called the theory of five different qualities. Based on this theory, the sect criticized the theory that everyone had the ability to attain enlightenment and become a Buddha (‘Everyone has the Buddha-nature’). the five qualities are sho#mon-jo#sho# (people who are destined to become enlightened upon listening to the Buddha’s teachings), Engaku-jo#sho# (people who are destined to attain enlightenment in their own way without depending on the Buddha’s teachings), Bosatsu-jo#sho# (people who preach that anyone can attain enlightenment, and who try not only to attain enlightenment but also aim for the salvation of others), Fu-jo#sho# (people who have not identified which quality they have), and Mu-shu sho# (people who are destined to become none of the other four).

Consequently, they needed to study Buddhist sutras and teachings under teacher monks. Historical documents express this style of learning as ‘entering so-and-so’s chamber’, ‘devoting oneself in so-and-so’s room’ or just ‘entrance into a chamber’. these lay Buddhists preparing to become monks are referred to as ubasoku or ubai. In the eighth century, a system was in place for recommending the lay trainees to sit for the examination. When a trainee passed the examination, he went through an initial ordination that included having his hair shaved, pledging to observe the precepts, 21 03 Chapter 02 HJB:Master Testpages HJB 10/10/07 11:21 Page 22 A History of Japanese Buddhism obtaining a Buddhist name (forsaking his secular name), and wearing monk’s clothing (kesa).

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