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Tendai is a Japanese school of Buddhism which was a descendant of the Chinese Tiantai school.

The Tiantai teaching was brought to Japan by Jianshen (鑑眞) in the middle of the 8th century, but it was not widely accepted. In 805, Saichō (最澄) brought back the Tendai teachings from China and made the temple that he had built on Mt. Hiei (比叡山), the Enryakuji, a center for the study and practice of Tendai.

However, what he had transmitted from China was not exclusively Tendai, but also included Zen (禪), Mikkyo (密教) and Vinaya (戒律) teachings. This tendency became more marked in the doctrines of his successors, such as Ennin (圓仁) and Enchin (圓珍). The Tendai sect flourished under the patronage of the imperial family and nobility in Japan.

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