The characteristics of Japanese Tendai
Japanese Journal of Religious Studies
The Tendai K 9 school founded by Dengy6 Daishi Saichb 6 2% fr k$ @%? is based primarily on the thought and practices of the Chinese T'ien-t'ai Lotus X -2 &S tradition. This does not mean that the T'ien-t'ai tradition was transplanted to Japan without any changes. Its form and content were polished, and its doctrine and teachings Japanized, resulting in significant development. The establishment of the new Tendai school by Saichb as a Buddhism of the mountains mlL\% , in contrast to the urban
... rast to the urban Buddhism %P Xi .IL& of the previous Nara period (710-794), had a revolutionary significance for the religious world of the day. As the "womb" from which were born the "new" religious movements of the Kamakura period (1185-1333), the Tendai tradition retains a special place in the history of Japanese Buddhism. In this article I will examine some of the special characteristics of Japanese Tendai Buddhism, with the focus on its founder Saichb. The first characteristic of the Japanese Tendai school is its advocacy of a comprehensive Buddhism, the ideal of a Buddhist school based on what is called the "One Great Perfect Teaching" --A & , the idea that all the teachings of the Buddha are ultimately without contradiction and can be unified in one comprehensive and perfect system. Chih-i, founder of T'ient'ai philosophy and practice, attempted this synthesis on the basis of the ekayina doctrine of the Lotus Siitra. Saicha transmitted not only the teach-, ings of the T'ien-t'ai tradition but also the Zen % and esoteric Buddhist @ %k traditions, and the bodhisattva precepts% %4 % @ Bk . He incorporated all of these elements under the rubric of the Japanese Tendai school to create a new school which was a synthesis of these four traditions. The Buddhism of This article was translated by the editor from Hazama 1969, pp. 88-103. The editor wishes to thank Ichishima Masao and Okubo RySjun of Taish6 University for their assistance in identifying many of the sources quoted without references in the original Japanese article.