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Shōmu Tenno

Shōmu Tenno (701–56). Japanese emperor and patron of Buddhism in the Nara period. He reigned 724–49, and sought to make Buddhism a foundation for the peace and order of the state. In 728 he ordered that Konkōmyō-kyō (The Golden Splendour Sūtra, Skt., Suvarṇaprabhāsa-uttama-sūtra) should be distributed and recited for the protection of the nation. In 745, he ordered the setting up of the daigedatsu in Tōdai-ji. He inaugurated and dedicated the image, making a personal commitment to the Three Jewels (sambō). After his abdication, he became a home-living religious (nyūdō), i.e. one who shaves his head and wears the Buddhist religious habit, but does not join a community.

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