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China’s Zodiac system grew more elaborate and complex over the centuries, but its importance in China ensured its acceptance elsewhere, and thus it greatly influenced and colored the subsequent development of Buddhist traditions throughout Asia. In the list below, we show the Ennichi 縁日 (literally "related day" or "day of connection" and translated as “holy day”) for other deities.In China, where Buddhism was introduced in the 1st & 2nd centuries AD, the 12 Zodiac animals became associated with Buddhism’s 12 Heavenly Generals as early as the Sui Dynasty (581-618). To determine your exact animal sign and Buddhist patron based on the Chinese lunar calendar, see below lunar chart. Ennichi are thus days with special significance to one particular deity.The Chinese Zodiac differs in many crucial respects from the Western Zodiac, and the two should not be confused.The former is based on a lunar year and five 12-year sub-cycles, while the latter revolves around a 12-month solar year.The Chinese zodiac, moreover, is not equated with constellations, as is the occidental zodiac.However, Chinese astrology does in fact incorporate numerous concepts from the Hellenistic zodiac and from Indo-Iranian astrology, including the Nine Luminaries & the 28 Lunar Mansions.They form patterns that do not change, night after night and year after year.
These are 'fixed stars' since, unlike the planets, they do not change position with respect to one another.
When Buddhism arrived in Japan in the mid-6th century AD, the Japanese eagerly imported both the Buddhist teachings and the Zodiac calendar -- the calendar was officially adopted in 604 AD. 30 (1987) or thereafter are HARE folk, but people born between Jan. Saying prayers to this deity on this day is believed to bring greater merits and results than on regular days. For example, a very auspicious day is the day of the snake in the month of the snake in the year of the snake.
In Japan, the Zodiac calendar is known as Kanshi 干支 (also read Eto), and the 12 animals of the Zodiac are known as the Jūni Shi (Juni Shi) 十二支. Indeed, the founder of the Kamakura Shōgunate -- Minamoto Yoritomo 源頼朝 (1147-1199) -- had a dream in the 12th century on exactly this day, and ordered the construction of a shrine dedicated to the Goddess (who is intimately associated with snakes).
Most scholars believe the Chinese Zodiac originated well before the Historical Buddha’s birth in India (who was born around 500 BC).
In China, the earliest depictions of the 12 Zodiac animals appear in tomb-ceiling paintings dated to 533 BC . In addition to the Eight Buddhist Deities and 12 Zodiac Animals shown above, there are Zodiac traditions involving other popular Japanese deities.