One of the great world religions. Founded in India by the historical Buddha—Shakyamuni—in the 6th to 5th centuries BCE. Life is regarded by the Buddha as impermanent and full of suffering. The recognition of these truths marks the beginning of the Buddhist path. Buddhism was introduced to Japan from Korea in the 6th century. Prince Shtoku (593-621) made Buddhism the official religion of Japan. During the Heian period (794-1184), the Tendai and Shingon schools of Buddhism gained prominence and became the dominant forms of Buddhism in Japan. In the 12th century, the Jodo sect emerged, and Zen was introduced. The Soto and Rinzai schools became the dominant schools of Zen. In the 13th century, the Nichiren school emerged. Though Shinto became a form of state religion in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Buddhism has experienced a resurgence since the end of World War II. Several new movements such as Soka Gakkai and Rissh Koseikai are adapting Buddhism to modern times. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)
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