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Nagaoka was marred by contention and assassination, however, rendering it an inauspicious location for the capital.

Thus, in 794 a site to the east of Nagaoka on a plain sheltered on the west, north, and east by mountains and intersected by ample north-south rivers was judged appropriate by geomancers.

The court in Heian-kyō was justifiably wary of Buddhism, at least in any powerfully institutionalized form.

Attempts by the Nara court to use Buddhism as a complicit pacifier in the pursuit of state goals had run afoul; excessive expenses incurred in erecting massive temples and commissioning appropriate iconography had effectively bankrupted the state treasury; and Buddhist attempts at political intrigue had nearly resulted in a religious dictatorship.

Nagaoka, a site to the north of Nara and slightly to the west of present-day Kyōto.

This move was an attempt to escape the meddling dominance of the Buddhist clerics in Nara and thus to allow unfettered development of a centralized government.

Named Heian-kyō (“Capital of Peace and Tranquility”) and later known as Kyōto, this city was modeled on the grid pattern of the Tang Chinese capital at Chang’an.

Heian-kyō remained the site of the imperial residence, if not the consistent seat of political power, until 1868.

The ) was regarded as the primary text of the sect.Indeed the shifting emphases found in Buddhist iconography during the Heian period are incomprehensible unless viewed in the context of doctrinal responses to social change.Most significant among these are the establishment of two Japanese schools of Esoteric Buddhism, Shingon, in the early 9th century, the increasing appeal of Amidism in the 10th century, and, with the understanding that Buddhism entered a final millenarian era in the mid-11th century, a florescence of various iconography produced in the hopes of gaining religious merit.The Heian period can be subdivided into four political periods.From the founding of Heian-kyō until the mid-10th century was a period of relative imperial control aided by counselors from the Fujiwara clan.

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