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Home » 8. Schools, Groups, and Personalities » Medieval and Early Modern Schools
Taishi-ryū Shintō
A Shintō tradition claiming Prince Shōtoku (Shōtoku Taishi, 574-622) as its founder and emphasizing the fundamental unity of the three teachings of Shintō, Confucianism, and Buddhism (sankyō itchi). Shōtoku Taishi, with the support of the Soga clan—and against the opposition of the Mononobe and Nakatomi clans—played a determinant role in the introduction of Buddhism to Japan. Shōtoku Taishi became the object of an increasingly important cult in medieval Shintō; he was believed to be endowed with the capacity to foresee the future, as indicated, for example, in the Miraiki [Record of future events] attributed to him and included in the Taiheiki. This cult was based on texts such as the Sendai kuji hongi, which was attributed to Shōtoku Taishi in the Kamakura period. Later, Yoshida Shintō claimed that Shōtoku Taishi had written the ōharae no kotoba and forumulated the doctrine that organized the three religions in a hierarchical structure, in which Shintō constituted the roots, Confucianism the branches, and Buddhism the flowers and fruits. With the appearance of anti-Buddhist positions by Confucian Shintoists (Juka Shintō), Shōtoku Taishi became the target of political and moral criticism. As a consequence, and partly in order to justify the non-Shintō elements in Shōtoku Taishi's thought and activities, Buddhists and devotees of Shōtoku Taishi took pains to emphasize the Soga clan's despotic deeds, thus promoting the existence of the Shintō tradition based on Shōtoku Taishi. Among the most representative texts of this tradition is the Sendai kuji hongi taisei kyō. However, since the Sendai kuji hongi includes many legends concerning the Mononobe clan, Taishi-ryū Shintō was also called Mononobe-ryū Shintō (the Shintō tradition of the Mononobe clan).

-Mori Mizue
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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