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Buddhism in Japan in the 8th century

In the 8th century, Buddhism prospered in Japan because of the great support from the Imperial Court.
In those days, many natural disasters occurred , such as big earthquakes, famine and plagues.
In addition, there were many problems and conflicts in the Court.
Therefore, the successive Emperors tried to sustain Japanese social order by prompting Buddhism.
At great temples in Nara such as Kofukuji-temple, Gangoji-temple, Yakushiji-temple, monks studied Buddhist doctrine from India and China.
Since Buddhism was still considered more academic than religious, the monks created six divisions called Nanto-Rokusyu.
In one of the six divisions, a monk named Roben studied under monks who came from Shill and Tang China, and then he greatly contributed to build Todaiji-temple.
In another divisions, a monk called Gien educated many great monks, such as Gyoki.
Gyoki was a very unique monk. He was not only a missionary, but also organized donations to construct socially necessary infrastructure, such as bridges, irrigation systems and building rescue facilities for poor people.
Therefore, he was very popular among common people.
Unfortunately, in those days, monks had to work only for the government, not for common people.
Accordingly, Gyoki was often arrested by officers.
Later, however, when Gyoki's popularity became overwhelming, the government changed its tack and used Gyoki to encourage common people to work for free building a great Buddha statue in Nara.

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