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Separation Of Religions In Meiji Japan

651 words - 3 pages

Description: present a generalization about Japan that would usually seem to be accurate based on what you have learned, and then cite some counter-examples to the generalization.Separation of Religions in Meiji JapanBefore the Meiji policy that authorized the separation of Shinto and Buddhism, Japanese religious culture had been to all intents defined by Buddhism. Shrines-based practices were nothing more than Buddhism's secular practices, and kami were understood to be manifestations of the Buddha (Lecture 2/20). Buddhism, which had been integral to Japanese culture for a long period of time, became the target of harsh persecution with the rise of the Meiji regime. Thousands of Buddhist temples were closed or destroyed, priests were forced out of their priesthoods, and texts and statues were burned (Lecture 3/8). Japanese people began attacking Buddhism as a drain on public resources, a foreign superstition that oppressed the indigenous Japanese spirit, and other mythic elements hindered the social progress (Lecture 3/8). In general, people tended to characterize the persecution of Buddhism as a response to its institutional decadence, but in fact, the policy of separation of Shinto and Buddhism was part of a larger effort to separate religious and political spheres in an attempt to control religious institutions.Prior to the Meiji period, Buddhism in Japan became more secular than it was before. Because the government required people to employ Buddhists for funeral rites, temple affiliation began to become part of a business. Out of this situation, temples became not only increasingly wealthy but also more exclusive places of interaction among members to the temples. The result of this development was that a priest has shifted from spiritual to economic. The institution of Buddhist temples became decadent to most people at that time (Tomatsu). Since Shinto had fused Buddhist worship for centuries, an effort to free Shinto from Buddhist domination triggered of violence and the breaking of images that committed against Buddhism.In fact, the separation of Shinto and...

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