Early Japanese Buddhism


Students will know one fact about the First 6 sects of Buddhism in Japan


  • Worksheet
  • Worksheet - Answers
  • Vinaya Sheet
  • Abhidharma Sheet
  • Metaphysics Sheet


1. Review of forms of Buddhism so far

    1. Theravada
    2. Mahayana (Madhyamaka, Abhidarma, Yogacara)
    3. Vajrayana (Tibetan)
    4. Chinese (Ch’an, Pure Land)
    5. Korean (Samnon-Madhyamaka, Gyeyeol-Vinaya, Yeolban-Nirvana Sutra)

2. What are Japanese like culturally?

    • Shinto is the indigenous religion. Belief in spirits in everything. Gods = Spirits
    • “Uncleanliness” is the worst thing; must be avoided at all costs.
    • Clan/family based. Society is fluid except for the aristocracy. Very few read & write.
      • Even the imperial family does not for most part until later.
      • Caste based. No middle class. Merchant class is considered very low.

Guess what forms of Buddhism took hold?

2. Lecture with worksheet.

Have students fill in the worksheet

3. Discussion

    • Why do you think this happened?

4. Practices

  1. Ritsu - Vinaya - Read the rules on the Vinaya Sheet and rewrite 5 rules in common English words.
  2. Jojitsu - Emptiness - Explain emptiness. Give an example.
  3. Kusha - Abhidharma - Read the Abhidharma Sheet
  4. Sanron - Middle Way - Give an example.
  5. Hosso - Yoga - Stretching & Breathing & Meditation
  6. Kegon - Meta physics - Read the Metaphysics Sheet

5. Review/Summarize

Ask which would appeal to you? Why?


During the Discussions and Review




Mas Nishimura, nish221.at.gmail.dot.com, San Jose Betsuin, 2018


Worksheet - Answer


Vinaya Sheet


Abhidharma Sheet


Meta-Physics Sheet