BUDDHISM AND JAPAN -- A First Sketch at a Timeline

In the Axial Age,         in Greece, the Pre-socratics;
600 -500 B.C.E.,         in Israel, the later Hebrew prophets & the Babylonian Exile;
                                    in India, the Buddha;
                                    in China, Confucius /Lao Tzu;
                                    in Japan, just a little before this time, the myth says that a
                                            great-grandson of a grandson (Ninigi) of the Sun Goddess
                                            becomes the first Emperor of Japan (Japan in mythic time)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    550 BCE                                                                                           550 CE
India: the Buddha                                         Bodhidharma brings early Zen to China

China: Confucius & Lao Tzu                         China on brink of one of its greatest
                                                                        dynasties: the T'ang dynasty (600-900CE)

Japan: still in myth time                                Standard Buddhism enters Japan via Korea
                                                                        Japan is just developing written form of
                                                                                                their language

            400                                                                                 400
 

                 300                                                                     300

                        200 --------HAN Dynasty ----------200
                                            (China)
the Mahayana
strand Buddhism
develops in India;      100                             100
Buddhism enters
China during Han                         0
Dynasty in China
***********************************************************************
                             ADD another 700 years ( from say 500 - 1200 CE)
 
 
 

500 C.E.                                                                  1000 C.E.                  1200 C.E.
Buddhism
enters Japan

China:             600 --------T’ANG ----------900
                                                                                                              Zen enters Japan
                                                                                                               and takes hold
Japan:                      700 -------- 800  NARA                                                   c.1200

                                                    800---------HEIAN KYO  (KYOTO) ----------1200
**********************************************************************
A Second Way to think of Development:

THREE KINDS OF BUDDHISM -- THERAVADA, MAHAYANA, AND ZEN

                         in India                            in China                                in Japan

ACT I:
600-500        The Awakening of             Confucius (K'ung Tzu)         Time of legendary
BCE             Gautama Siddhartha         and Lao Tzu                               first Emperor

                            The Buddha's                  Confucian
                            Teachings                            and
                            becomes TB                       Taoist
                            Theravada                        Thought
                            Buddhism                           develop in
                                                                       China

ACT II:
A couple of        New form Buddhism     Think Han Dynasty          Japan still in time of
hundred yrs        MB -- Mahayana          (200 BCE -200 CE)             moving chieftains
both sides            Buddhism --born               TB & MB enter
 0 point                both TB & MB                         China
                            find their way
                                into China.

ACT III
c. 500 CE            We leave the story      "Bodhidarma (Zen)             Buddhism (TB)
                                of India                        Comes to China"                 enters Japan
                                                                     ZB cooking in China             from Korea.
                                                                   (soon the T'ang                     Soon unification
                                                                    dynasty and                                 of Japan
                                                                    Golden Age Zen)                  under one rule

ACT IV:
c.1000 CE                                               Golden Age of Zen                 MB is in Japan
                                                                    In China is over.                     (Zen implicit)

                                                                                                                    C. 1200 CE
                                                                                                                Zen comes to Japan
                                                                                                                  -- in Rinzai and
                                                                                                                    Soto forms


                                            Return to Zen Enrichment Page

                                            Return to Zen Menu Page

                                            Return to John G. Sullivan Homepage