East Asian Buddhism

East Asian Buddhism is a collective term for the schools of Mahayana Buddhism that developed in the East Asian region and follow the Chinese Buddhist canon. These include Chinese Buddhism, Korean Buddhism, Japanese Buddhism, and Vietnamese Buddhism.

Although a minority of East Asian Buddhists identify solely with that religion, others simultaneously practice Taoism or the Chinese folk religion (in the case of ethnic Chinese); Shinto (for Japanese); or Korean shamanism (for Koreans). Most East Asian cultures also incline towards Confucianism, which is not usually considered by its adherents to be a religion. Certain syncretic religions have arisen in East Asia which claim to harmonize Buddhism with other religions; among them are I-Kuan Tao (Taiwan), Caodaism (Vietnam); Chondogyo (Korea), and Oomoto (Japan).

Major "schools" of East Asian Buddhism include Pure Land Buddhism, Tientai, Huayen, and Chan Buddhism (Zen). These are distinguished primarily on the basis of which sutras are considered most definitive (in contrast with the situation in Tibetan Buddhism, where the focus is on commentarial literature). Vajrayana Buddhism also exists in East Asian forms, such as Japan's Shingon sect.

East Asian sangha members generally follow the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya. The major exception is Japan, where monks (now called "priests" in English) received imperial permission to marry during the Meiji Restoration, and thus no longer follow any traditional monastic code.

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