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the politicalization of Buddhism in the 8th century

The Syomu Emperor pushed forward big projects such as building Kokubunji-temples in regions across Japan and building the great Buddha statue in Nara.
On the other hand, under the policy of Buddhism protection, the cost of building temples and the decrease of tax revenue caused by the increasing number of monks, who were tax exempt, became a heavy burden on the national finances.
In the process of Buddhism taking root in Japan, Buddhism became known as a way to gain material benefits. In addition, Buddhism assimilated the indigenous religion of ancestor worship.
Therefore, Buddhist statues and transcribed scriptures were made for healing the souls of ancestors.
In addition, a thought to merge Shinto with Buddhism was born.
Meanwhile, monks who didn’t like the politicalization of Buddhism left the big temples and started Buddhist training in the mountains.
They became the bases of a new Buddhism in the 9th century.

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