chapter  8
16 Pages

RELIGION

RELIGIONS IN THE MIDDLE AGES The appearance on the Japanese scene of a new system of government, in complete contrast to that practised until then by the aristocrats of Kyôto, offered, from the spiritual and moral point of view, a kind of liberation which enabled new ideas to gain ground, and religions and philosophies to develop and win over the people. Many new ways of thought were superimposed on to traditional Japanese Buddhism, a form of Buddhism that was a blend of Shintô practices and beliefs of Chinese origin-the development of the pietist theories of Amidism, the uncompromising theories of Nichiren and the meditative theories of Zen. The samurai class adopted a Confucian moral philosophy and the revival of Shintô cults was purely Japanese. Powerful personalities provided a stimulus for the religious spirit of the Japanese people. Tempered by religion and spiritualized by Zen philosophy, the samurai spirit breathed strength into the new sects.