Eastern denominations

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Buddhist denominations[edit]


Mahayana icon
Mahayana is the most widely practiced branch of Buddhism. The goal of its adherents is to achieve enlightenment, possibly even achieve Buddhahood.
In the game only Dai Viet and Pangasinan start as Mahayana Buddhist as many countries where it was dominant are instead categorized as Confucianist.

All Mahayana countries receive:

  • Tolerance heretic.png+2 Tolerance of heretics
  • Idea cost.png−5% Idea cost
  • Possible heresies: Zen


Theravada icon
Like all Buddhist branches, Theravada stems from the teachings of Gautama Buddha in the 5th century BC. The followers of Theravada Buddhism rely on the Pali Canons for religious and legal guidance and emphasis is put on Monastic duties and reaching the status of Arhat or enlightenment.
In the game Theravada Buddhism is primarily practiced in Sri Lanka and South East Asia.

All Theravada countries receive:

  • Advisor cost.png−10% Advisor cost
  • Tolerance heretic.png+2 Tolerance of heretics
  • Possible heresies: Zen


Vajrayana icon
Also known as Tantric Buddhism or even Lamaism, Vajrayana is a branch of Buddhism where the goal of the adherents is to become a Bodhisattva through use of Tantric Techniques. It is believed enlightenment cannot be reached simply from lone study but must be taught by a teacher.
In the game Vajrayana Buddhism is primarily practiced in Tibet and to some degree on the North Asian Steppes.

All Vajrayana countries receive:

  • Morale of armies.png+5% Morale of armies
  • Tolerance heretic.png+1 Tolerance of heretics
  • Possible heresies: Zen


The Buddhist religions have a Monthly karma.png Karma slider. Positive karma is mostly gained from releasing nations and returning cores, which uniquely never costs diplomatic power cost for Buddhist countries, and honoring military alliances. Negative karma is incurred from declaring wars and demanding non-core provinces. This means that expansionist Buddhist nations will either need to accept a perpetually low karma rating or make creative use of diplomacy and vassals to maintain neutral karma: weak or small nations released as technically 'independent' in peace deals (therefore increasing karma) may be diplomatically willing to become vassals of the Buddhist nation that demanded their release. Buddhist nations that release a vassal from their own provinces (this notably includes provinces that the overlord has no cores on) will also be refunded for any karma lost from seizing those provinces in a peace deal. The ruler of a nation with strongly positive karma will gain a small buff to diplomatic reputation. A ruler of a nation with strongly negative karma will gain a small buff to discipline. Neutral karma gives a stronger buff to both discipline and diplomatic reputation.

Low Karma[1] Neutral Karma[2] High Karma[3]
Discipline.png +2.5% Discipline
Diplomatic reputation.png +2% Diplomatic reputation
Discipline.png +5% Discipline
Diplomatic reputation.png +1 Diplomatic reputation
Action Effect on current karma
Honoring an alliance +25
Releasing a vassal +1 per development of released vassal
Releasing nation in a peace deal +1 per development of released nation
Returning a core +1 per development of returned core province
Converting a province +0.10 per development of converted province
Electing a new ruler when the current one could be re-elected in a Government republic.png republic +10
Having the current ruler die The karma slider will advance 25 points towards 0 karma, stopping there
Starting a war −10
Taking a province in a peace deal −1 per development of province taken
Re-electing the same ruler in a Government republic.png republic −10

There are also many events and decision which can affect the karma rating.


Confucian icon
Confucianism is the term for the philosophies of 5th century BC philosopher Confucius and stresses personal development and the importance of good government.
In the game China and Korea starts as Confucian countries, with some spread among the Jurchen states in Manchuria.

Confucianism is represented in game as a religion, but it is just as often described as a non-religious philosophy. It was the philosophy of Chinese statecraft for centuries. As such, it coexists with other religions, represented in game by the Harmonization mechanic.

All Confucian countries receive:

  • Tolerance heretic.png+2 Tolerance of heretics
  • Administrative technology cost−10% Administrative technology cost
  • Possible heresies: Taoist


Harmony is a value that increases over time, and increases more from high stability and the humanist full idea group bonus. Low harmony increases development cost and decreases tolerance of the true faith, yearly meritocracy, and legitimacy.

Yearly harmony changes

  • +1 base value
  • +0.25 per each point of positive stability
  • +0.25 from full Humanist Ideas bonus
  • +0.25 from clergy privilege
  • -3 while harmonizing a religion

Converting the religion of provinces to Confucian will reduce harmony by −1 per each point of development in the province. This malus is suffered even if the converted province is owned by a vassal state.

At 0% harmony, a country receives the following effects:

Tolerance of the true faith.png −3% Tolerance of the true faith
Development cost.png +25% development cost
Yearly legitimacy.png −1% Yearly legitimacy
Yearly meritocracy.png −2% Yearly meritocracy

At 100% harmony a country receives:

Tolerance of the true faith.png +1 Tolerance of the true faith

These benefits scale to the value of the country's harmony, which provides neither maluses nor bonuses at 50%.

When a religion is harmonized, it is tolerated as if it were Confucian, except for the fact that its culture cannot be converted. Harmonizing a religion takes 34 years, and decreases harmony in a country by −3 yearly while harmonizing. Once a religion is harmonized, it will provide a permanent bonus depending on the religion and provinces following it will not harm religious unity. During harmonization of a religion and after the religion has been completely harmonized, it will be impossible to send missionaries to any owned provinces following it. This restriction does not extend to any provinces owned by a vassal state. Note that there are several events that speed up harmonization but they require state provinces with the religion being harmonized.

Name Effect
Catholicism Christian group Stability cost modifier.png −5% Stability cost
Hinduism Dharmic group Tolerance of the true faith.png +1 Tolerance of the true faith
Sunni Islam Muslim group Trade efficiency.png +5% Trade efficiency
Animism Pagan group National unrest.png −0.5 National unrest
Shintoism Shinto Infantry combat ability.png +5% Infantry combat ability
Mahayana.png Mahayana Idea cost.png −7% Idea cost
Theravada.png Theravada Advisor cost.png −5% Advisor cost
Vajrayana.png Vajrayana Production efficiency.png +5% Production efficiency
Jewish.png Judaism Institution spread.png +15% Institution spread
Zoroastrianism.png Zoroastrianism Trade efficiency.png +10% Trade efficiency


Shinto icon
Shintoism is the ancient ethnic religion of Japan which over the centuries have come to coexist with Confucianism and Buddhism on the Japanese islands.
In the game all of Japan starts out Shintoist to signify the special mix of Buddhism, Shintoism and other traditions of the Japanese people.

All Shinto countries receive:

  • Morale of armies.png+10% Morale of armies
  • Possible heresies: Shugendo

All Shinto provinces receive:

  • Local missionary strength.png−2% Local missionary strength[4]


Shinto nations have an isolationism level; 5 stages from Open Doors to Closed Doors each giving their own national effect. Japan starts in 1444 under the Ashikaga Shogunate before their Sakoku period of isolation and as such is at an "adaptive" level. Periodically, this Isolationism level will be affected by Incidents. Up to 8 of these Incidents can trigger throughout a campaign, depending on the situation in and around Japan. Each Incident has three possible outcomes: increase isolationism by 1, decrease isolationism by 1, or no change, depending on the choices made in the triggered events.

Level Name Effect
0 Open Doors
  • Technology cost.png−5% Technology cost
  • Institution embracement cost.png−10% Embracement cost
1 Adaptive
  • Institution spread.png+10% Institution spread
  • Development cost.png −10% Development cost
2 Selective Integration
  • Idea cost.png−10% Idea cost
  • Construction cost.png−10% Construction cost
3 Isolationism
  • Culture conversion cost.png−15% Culture conversion cost
  • Missionaries.png+1 Missionary
4 Closed Doors
  • War exhaustion.png−0.03 Monthly war exhaustion
  • Stability cost modifier.png−15% Stability cost modifier

The isolation level of a country is only changed through incidents, which will occur rarely throughout the game when their triggers have been met.

Incident Trigger MTTH Effect Description
Neo-Confucianism The country:
  • did not have an incident in the last 30 years.
200 months The country: Neo-Confucianism is not new to Japan, it spread to from China in the Kamakura period and like many aspects of Chinese and wider East Asian culture it quickly took root. Its rationalistic outlook is above all very well suited for strengthening the authority of the ruler and if we were to encourage its development in Japan we might create a stronger principle for controling our people.
Nanban Trade Colonialism Colonialism has been discovered.

The country:

  • did not have an incident in the last 30 years.
  • has at least 1 home port.

If playing with normal or historical nations setup

  • then Japan has encountered the West.[5]
  • else this country must have knowledge of a country from another continent.
200 months

The country has at least 5 home ports: ×0.7

The country: Western Traders have arrived in our lands, bringing goods, ideas and even weapons that we have not seen before. These foreigners are lacking in manners and even hygiene but how we handle these merchants could well have a lasting impact on our society.
Proliferation of Firearms The country:
  • had the ‘Nanban Trade’ incident.
  • did not have an incident in the last 30 years.
150 months The country: The gunpowder weapons that the western traders brought to our shores are clearly very dangerous to our society. As local variants of these guns, Tanegashima, have begun to be produced it stands clear that there will soon be a large supply of weapons with which even a common peasant can defeat the most well trained of Samurai.
Spread of Christianity It is not the ‘Age of Discovery’.

The country:

  • did not have an incident in the last 30 years.
  • has knowledge of a Christian country.

If playing with normal or historical nations setup

  • then Japan has encountered the West.[5]
100 months The country: Missionaries bearing word of a strange western religion have arrived at our shores and their words have struck home among a suprisingly large segment of the Japanese population. Christian congregations are being formed all over the island and Japanese converts are themselves converting more of their compatriots by the day.
Rising Shogunate Authority It is ‘Age of Reformation’, ‘Age of Absolutism’ or ‘Age of Revolutions’.

The country:

  • did not have an incident in the last 30 years.
  • is daimyo

At least one of the following is true:

200 months The country: For centuries the Shogun, rather than the Emperor, has been the true power in Japan. The authority of the Shogunate has however itself not been strong for a long time. It seems our current Shogun has taken it upon himself to change this, demanding obedience and strengthening old laws and traditions to exert greater control over this war-torn land.
Ikko - Ikki It is not the ‘Age of Discovery’.

The country:

  • did not have an incident in the last 30 years.
200 months The country: Free Land Buddhism is no new religion to our island yet during the civil war that has plagued Japan many more have flocked to its principles. This group movement is becoming increasingly militarized and their promises of salvation is drawing in farmers, priests, monks and even nobles. The authority of ancient traditions are being challenged by their strong conviction.
Wokou Pirates The country:
  • did not have an incident in the last 30 years.
  • has at least 1 home port.
  • has knowledge of at least 1 country that:
    • has at least 1 home port.
    • is not Shinto.
  • has at least 1 neighbor.
200 months The country: The relationship between China, Korea and Japan has always been troubled. The decaying authority of the central state in Japan has lead to a large number of pirate societies being formed, some even funded by outside investment. As our ports are being used by these sea-robberers we need to take a stance on this piracy.
Urbanization The country:
  • did not have an incident in the last 30 years.
  • has embraced Global Trade.png ‘Global Trade’.
  • has at least 2 cities.
200 months The country: Society is changing quickly as more and more people migrate from the countryside to the great Castle Cities of the country. The power of the ancient trade guilds is on the rise and landowners are complaining that farmers do not stay in their plots.

NB: Shinto and Confucian countries are not allowed to convert to another religion through the religion interface, and can only convert to Catholicism through a decision.


  1. See in /Europa Universalis IV/common/static_modifiers/00_static_modifiers.txt (Static modifiers#Low Karma).
  2. See in /Europa Universalis IV/common/static_modifiers/00_static_modifiers.txt (Static modifiers#Neutral Karma).
  3. See in /Europa Universalis IV/common/static_modifiers/00_static_modifiers.txt (Static modifiers#High Karma).
  4. This means that these provinces are harder to convert.
  5. 5.0 5.1 I.e. the global flag “japan_has_encountered_the_west” is set. This is done by the event Japan Discovered!.

Ideas and Policies Idea groupsNational ideasPolicies
Ages and Institutions AgesInstitutions
Innovativeness and Technology InnovativenessTechnology