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  1. Nara Series
  2. Buddhism in Japan - Wikipedia
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Based on such motivations, we have been studying reaction paths.

Nara Series

Our initial guiding principle is the idea that "reaction paths follow the road over a saddle". First, let me explain what a "saddle" is. Today's younger people may not understand the importance of a saddle. A saddle is the lowest point in mountains, through which one can reach the other side of the mountain range that lies ahead.

In today's world, where transportation by cars and trains is standard, a tunnel would be dug through a mountain if there iss a mountain ahead of your path.

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However, in the past, when people crossed a mountain on foot, the approach to reaching the other side with minimal effort potential energy was to follow the road through a saddle. For example, several saddles are available, such as the Dark Pass, along the roads leading from Nara to Osaka. Based on the same concept, the idea that "reaction paths follow the road over a saddle" is dominant today. This concept also supports the idea that a reaction path can be understood by analyzing the topography potential surface in which the reaction occurs.

This is the theory known as the "Intrinsic Reaction Coordinate", proposed by Kenichi Fukui who received a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the frontier molecular orbital theory and others. However, this theory ignores the effect of the speed of the reaction. Analysis of the topography alone may be sufficient in the cases of a man walking across a mountain or a mountaineer considering the route for mountain climbing. On the other hand, in bobsled, a winter Olympics sport, the speed of the sled must be considered alongside the topography of the path to develop the sled's route.

Similarly, there are cases in chemical reactions in which the impact of the speed cannot be ignored. Among such phenomena is the "switching of reaction paths", which we have predicted theoretically. When predicting a new phenomenon, it is preferable to work on as simple a system as possible.


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Thus, the system can be analyzed theoretically without uncertainties and future empirical validations will likely involve fewer difficulties. From this perspective, we have focused on the ionization of hydrogen atoms. We have analyzed the directional distribution at the point of ionization by first treating hydrogen atoms with an electrostatic field and a perpendicular static magnetic field, followed by an excitation to a high-excitation state by a laser.

Because an energy wall is created during the ionization of electrons with the application of the electrostatic field, the hydrogen atoms are expected to follow the path of a saddle during the ionization process, according to the conventional theory. According to the Book of Liang , which was written in , five Buddhist monks from Gandhara traveled to Japan in At the time, they referred to Japan as Fusang Chinese: In former times, the people of Fusang knew nothing of the Buddhist religion, but in the second year of Da Ming of the Song Dynasty , five monks from Kipin [Kabul region of Gandhara] travelled by ship to Fusang.

They propagated Buddhist doctrine, circulated scriptures and drawings, and advised the people to relinquish worldly attachments. As a result the customs of Fusang changed. Initial uptake of the new faith was slow, and Buddhism only started to spread some years later when Empress Suiko openly encouraged the acceptance of Buddhism among all Japanese people. In , in order to obtain copies of sutras, an imperial envoy was dispatched to Sui China.

By , there were 46 Buddhist temples, Buddhist priests, and Buddhist nuns in Japan. These were not exclusive schools, and temples were apt to have scholars versed in several of the schools. It has been suggested that they can best be thought of as "study groups". The Buddhism of these periods, known as the Asuka period and Nara period — was not a practical religion, being more the domain of learned priests whose official function was to pray for the peace and prosperity of the state and imperial house. Their practice was a combination of Buddhist and Daoist elements and the incorporation of shamanistic features of indigenous practices.

Some of these figures became immensely popular, and were a source of criticism towards the sophisticated academic and bureaucratic Buddhism of the capital. During the Heian period the capital was shifted from Nara to Kyoto. Shinto and Buddhism became the dominant religions, maintaining a balance until the Meiji-restoration. The Kamakura period was a period of crises in which the control of the country moved from the imperial aristocracy to the samurai.


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In the Kamakura shogunate was established at Kamakura. This period saw the introduction of the two schools that had perhaps the greatest impact on the country: Additionally, it was during the Kamakura period that the influential monk Nichiren began teaching devotion to the Lotus Sutra. Eventually, his disciples formed their own school of Nichiren Buddhism , which includes various sects that have their own interpretations of Nichiren's teachings.

Nichiren Buddhism established the foundation of Japanese Buddhism in the thirteenth century. The school is known for its sociopolitical activism and looks to reform society through faith. In the Muromachi period , Zen, particularly the Rinzai school , obtained the help of the Ashikaga shogunate and the Emperor of Japan , and accomplished considerable development.

After the Sengoku period of war, Japan was re-united in the Azuchi—Momoyama period. This decreased the power of Buddhism, which had become a strong political and military force in Japan. Neo-Confucianism and Shinto gained influence at the expense of Buddhism, which came under strict state control.

Buddhism in Japan - Wikipedia

The only traders to be allowed were Dutchmen admitted to the island of Dejima. New doctrines and methods were not to be introduced, nor were new temples and schools. Ingen had been a member of the Linji school , the Chinese equivalent of Rinzai, which had developed separately from the Japanese branch for hundreds of years. Thus, when Ingen journeyed to Japan following the fall of the Ming dynasty to the Manchu people , his teachings were seen as a separate school.

With the Meiji Restoration in , the new government adopted a strong anti-Buddhist attitude, and a movement to eradicate Buddhism and bring Shinto to ascendancy arose throughout the country due to the strong connections of Buddhism to the Shoguns. During the Meiji period — , after a coup in , Japan abandoned its feudal system and opened up to Western modernism. Shinto became the state religion. Within the Buddhist establishment the Western world was seen as a threat as well as a challenge to stand up to.

Rinzai and Soto Zen chose to adapt, trying to modernize Zen in accord with Western insights, while simultaneously maintaining a Japanese identity. Other schools, and Buddhism in general, simply saw their influence wane. The edict of April ended the status of the buddhist precepts as state law and allowed monks to marry and to eat meat.

Japanese identity was being articulated in Nihonjinron , the "Japanese uniqueness theory". A broad range of subjects was taken as typical of Japanese culture. Suzuki contributed to the Nihonjinron by taking Zen as the distinctive token of Asian spirituality, showing its unique character in the Japanese culture. During the s, "leaders of both Honmon Hokkeshu and Sokka Gakkai were imprisoned for their defiance of wartime government religious policy, which mandated display of reverence for state Shinto. Post World War II, there was a high demand for Buddhist priests who glorified fallen soldiers, and gave funerals and posthumous names, causing a strong revival.

We found that in the rate-determining step of the hydroxylation reaction, an electron is transferred between the active species of the enzyme with a high oxidation state and the aromatic compound, and we revealed a that this electron transfer process is coupled with the following bond formation between the active species and the aromatic compound. This new mechanism is the only mechanism that can explain, without contradiction, many previous experimental results. A report related to this research result was published this year in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

It was also introduced with a banner on the home page for weekly publications of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. This is the result of research led by Maaya Asaka, an M2 in my research laboratory. Currently, Nami Fukui, an M1, and a fourth-year student Yuri Ishimizu, are conducting research to further develop this result. Besides this, my laboratory has conducted research on enzymes that synthesize hypochlorous acid the main component of bleach , which is used by white blood cells to fight bacteria that invade the body for example, the human protein named myeloperoxidase produces bleach for antimicrobial defense , and enzymes related to the recycling of iron atoms within organisms for example, heme oxygenase , and enzymes found in soil bacteria, which play a role in maintaining the balance of nitrogen compounds on the earth for example, nitrite reductase.

Since nature uses many enzymes to perform a wide variety of biological reactions, at first this may all appear extremely complicated and difficult to understand. However, I believe that among this variety there are simple and elegant rules that govern many biological reactions. In the future, by studying enzyme mechanisms, I want to continue performing research to solve the mysteries of nature. Graduate School of Science. Graduate School of Humanities and Sciences.

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Faculty of Science November, ] Professor Hiroshi Fujii Chemistry Course Department of Chemistry, Biology, and Environmental Science Faculty of Science Nara Women's University Many proteins called enzymes exist within our bodies, and they perform many chemical reactions that are necessary for biological activities. Clarifying the Reaction Mechanism of the Aromatic Hydroxylation Reaction by Cytochrome P Within our bodies, there are enzymes that synthesize substances needed for biological activities, and conversely, those that decompose unneeded substances using molecular oxygen that we take inhale.

The green ribbon part is protein moiety, and the light purple color shows the heme of the active site One of the representative reactions performed by cytochrome P is the hydroxylation of aromatic compounds such as benzene.