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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“At length, having come up fifty rods off, he uttered one of those prolonged howls, as if calling on the god of loons to aid him, and immediately there came a wind from the east and rippled the surface, and filled the whole air with misty rain, and I was impressed as if it were the prayer of the loon answered, and his god was angry with me; and so I left him disappearing far away on the tumultuous surface.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“Exploitation and oppression is not a matter of race. It is the system, the apparatus of world-wide brigandage called imperialism, which made the Powers behave the way they did. I have no illusions on this score, nor do I believe that any Asian nation or African nation, in the same state of dominance, and with the same system of colonial profit-amassing and plunder, would have behaved otherwise.”
—Han Suyin (b. 1917)
“A religion so cheerless, a philosophy so sorrowful, could never have succeeded with the masses of mankind if presented only as a system of metaphysics. Buddhism owed its success to its catholic spirit and its beautiful morality.”
—W. Winwood Reade (18381875)