In Japanese Buddhism, there were details that aristocratic Buddhism up to that time changed to popular Buddhism by rise of pessimism long before the Kamakura period which the parishioner system was established. Such as Honen, Eisai, Shinran, Dogen, and Nichiren could not leave sufferings of ordinary citizens, descended the peak of Mt. Hiei which was called the mother mountain, and they started their own new sect standing for their choice of sutras that each believed in. It seems like standard of revolt, however they considered that it was the practice of gratitude to Saicho, posthumous title of Denkyo Daishi, who established Mount. Hiei-zan Enryakuji and the founder of Tendai sect. Denkyo Daishi also denied Nara Buddhism which was academic Buddhism. Former Sakyamuni Buddha broke established religion called Brahmanism and established Buddhism for people. Because there is no meaning in divergent religion from the times and people. Therefore, we should say that collapse of the parishioner system is an opportunity which grows new pioneers. The founders will also be pleased from Higan, the world of enlightenment.
The image of Buddhism = funeral and Buddhist memorial service is not seen in other Buddhist communities like China and Korea. It does not mean that they do not hold funerals and memorial services, however, at least those are not main of monk’s work. Thailand and Sri Lanka, southern Buddhist countries exclusively function as the place of chanting sutras and meditation. As having traveled to many countries, I can only say that Japanese Buddhism that became specialized funerals and memorial services has changed. A few years ago, when I visited a temple in Korea on business; while I was looking at a beautiful Buddhist mortuary tablet made by crystal, a monk in charge of guiding the guests came to me and said, “No, no!”, then he pointed to the heavens with his index finger.
“Nirvana!” In other words, he means to me, “You are a monk, so don’t be interested in such a Buddhist mortuary tablet and you have to go back to the heavens, don’t you?” After that, in the main hall, many people who are men and women of all ages were meditating. They say that there is no parishioner system in Korea and people can visit any temple as one likes. In another room, a monk was counseling several people on their lives, so I felt keenly the difference of Japanese Buddhism by its liveliness.
-To be Continued-