This concluding chapter summarizes key themes and presents some final thoughts. The book examined several key moments in the formation of the Japanese Buddhist tradition, the Japanese royal cult, and popular worship of kami in the Japanese islands. It was shown that from at least the time of the Yamato ruler Wakateru down to the Heian period, both the royal cult and popular cultic life were characterized by tremendous ferment, as changes in the technological and material culture of the Japanese islands helped spur dramatic changes in political and cultic orientation both at the Yamato court and in the countryside. As continental cults and deities were inscribed into the landscape of the Japanese islands, they played a major role in the formation of even purportedly native religious practices. The final section of the chapter provides some directions for future research.
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