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In Japan, the Age of Mappō (or Mappo) was scheduled to begin in 1052 AD, and a sense of foreboding thus filled the land, with people from all classes yearning for a gospel of salvation.The development of Japan’s Pure Land sects, and their exclusive devotion to Amida Buddha, should be viewed against this backdrop.Modern Amida Wood Carvings From online store Faith in Amida Buddha remained largely confined to a small segment of the Japanese population until the Kamakura Era (1185-1333), when it was popularized by new Pure Land (Jōdo 浄土) sects committed to bringing Buddhism to the illiterate commoner.These sects expressed concern for the salvation of the ordinary person, and stressed pure and simple faith over complicated rites and doctrines. Their leaders, Hōnen 法然 and his disciple Shinran 親鸞, taught that anyone could attain salvation by faithfully reciting the name of Amida Buddha.Also, numerous Jōdo Mandala & Jōdo Sanmandara depict Amida's paradise and the non-Tantric deities of Japan's Pure Land sects.

For a few more details on Hōzō Bosatsu, please click here. Morrell says it is a “remarkable accident of history” that a Pure Land school devoted to Amida was not introduced to Japan along with the original Six Nara Sects (Nara Era = 710 to 793 AD), for faith in Amida was known in Japan already by Prince Shotoku’s time (573 - 621 AD).

In the Heian Era (794-1192 AD) came the Tendai and Shingon schools of Esoteric Buddhism.

Together they are known as the Eight Schools of Early Buddhism in Japan.

This was an all-encompassing concept of society’s rise and fall that originated much earlier in Indian Buddhism but came to prominence later in China and then Japan.

It foretold of the world’s ultimate decay and the complete disappearance of Buddhist practice.

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