Pre-Kamakura Era

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During the pre-Kamakura era, the Kamakura era, and the Ashikaga Shogunate, Japan underwent many political, economic, religious, cultural and social changes. Power shifted from old elites to new ones, the economy became more developed, and there were many religious and cultural innovations. During the pre-Kamakura era, the estate system helped to increase the power of local authorities and clans at the expense of the power of the emperor (Schirokauer Chapter 11). Estates could be exempt from taxes and provide a base for the building of wealth by local aristocrats (Schirokauer Chapter 11). Because there was limited protection offered by the imperial authorities, the estates began to develop their own military and self-defense forces (Schirokauer…show more content…
Two of them Pure Land and Zen, became rivals (Lecture for Schirokauer Chapter 11). Pure Land Buddhism, such as that taught by Honen, taught that Amida Buddha would assure followers rebirth in the Pure Land, or Western paradise (Lecture for Schirokauer Chapter 11). This form of Buddhism appealed to ordinary people as it offered some reassurance that a better life was possible and there could be escape from the violence and instability of the times (Lecture for Schirokauer Chapter 11). Shinran was another Pure Land leader who often preached to common people (Lecture for Schirokauer Chapter 11). Nichiren established another Buddhist school based on the divinity of the Lotus Sutra (Lecture for Schirokauer Chapter 11). He was opposed to Pure Land, believed Japan was divinely chosen, and even predicted the invasion of the Mongols (Lecture for Schirokauer Chapter 11). His nationalism appealed to samurai to some extent (Lecture for Schirokauer Chapter 11). However, the branch of Buddhism that the samurai preferred was Zen (Lecture for Schirokauer Chapter 11). Eisai and Dogen studied in China and established Zen in Japan. Zen emphasized silent meditation and a Spartan lifestyle with military training (Lecture for Schirokauer Chapter 11). This strictness appealed to the samurai class (Lecture for Schirokauer Chapter

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