Buddhist Hagiography in Early Japan

Buddhist Hagiography in Early Japan
Author: Jonathan Morris Augustine
Publsiher: Routledge
Total Pages: 184
Release: 2004-10-21
Genre: History
ISBN: 9781134352906

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Hagiographies or idealized biographies which recount the lives of saints, bodhisattvas and other charismatic figures have been the meeting place for myth and experience. In medieval Europe, the 'lives of saints' were read during liturgical celebrations and the texts themselves were treated as sacred objects. In Japan, it was believed that those who read the biographies of lofty monks would acquire merit. Since hagiographies were written or compiled by 'believers', the line between fantasy and reality was often obscured. This study of the bodhisattva Gyoki - regarded as the monk who started the largest social welfare movement in Japan - illustrates how Japanese Buddhist hagiographers chose to regard a single monk's charitable activities as a miraculous achievement that shaped the course of Japanese history.

Buddhist Hagiography in Early Japan

Buddhist Hagiography in Early Japan
Author: Jonathan Morris Augustine
Publsiher: Routledge
Total Pages: 184
Release: 2004-10-21
Genre: History
ISBN: 9781134352913

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Hagiographies or idealized biographies which recount the lives of saints, bodhisattvas and other charismatic figures have been the meeting place for myth and experience. In medieval Europe, the 'lives of saints' were read during liturgical celebrations and the texts themselves were treated as sacred objects. In Japan, it was believed that those who read the biographies of lofty monks would acquire merit. Since hagiographies were written or compiled by 'believers', the line between fantasy and reality was often obscured. This study of the bodhisattva Gyoki - regarded as the monk who started the largest social welfare movement in Japan - illustrates how Japanese Buddhist hagiographers chose to regard a single monk's charitable activities as a miraculous achievement that shaped the course of Japanese history.

Critical Readings on Pure Land Buddhism in Japan

Critical Readings on Pure Land Buddhism in Japan
Author: Galen Amstutz
Publsiher: BRILL
Total Pages: 466
Release: 2020-06-08
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9789004401518

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Pure Land was one of the main fields of mythopoesis and discourse among the Asian Buddhist traditions, and in Japan of central cultural importance from the Heian period right up to the present. The pieces reproduced in this set have been chosen as linchpin works accentuating the diversity and evolution of Pure Land Buddhism. These selections of previously published articles will serve as an essential starting-point for anyone interested in this perhaps underestimated area of Buddhist studies.

A Storied Sage

A Storied Sage
Author: Micah L. Auerback
Publsiher: University of Chicago Press
Total Pages: 358
Release: 2016-12-07
Genre: History
ISBN: 9780226286389

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This study traces the modern transformation of Japanese Buddhist concepts across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, specifically the notion of the historical Buddhai.e., the prince of ancient Indian descent who abandoned his wealth and power to become an awakened being. Since Buddhism arrived in Japan in the sixth century, the historical figure of the Buddha has repeatedly disappeared from view and returned, always in different forms and to different ends. Micah Auerback offers the first account of the changing fortunes of the Japanese Buddha, following the course of early modern and modern producers and consumers of both high and low culture, who found novel uses for the Buddha s story outside the confines of the Buddhist establishment. Auerback challenges the still-prevalent concept that Buddhism had grown ossified and irrelevant during Japan s early modernity, and complicates the image of Japanese Buddhism as a sui generis tradition within the Asian Buddhist world. Auerback also links the later Buddhist tradition in Japan to its roots on the Continent, and argues for the relevance of attention to narrative and the historical imagination in the study of Buddhist Asia more broadly conceived. And, Auerback engages the question of secularization by examining the after life of the Buddha in the hagiographic literature, demonstrating that the late Japanese Buddha did not, as is widely thought, fade into a ghost of its former self, but rather underwent a complete transformation and reincarnation. The book thus joins the larger discussion of secularization in modernity beyond Buddhism, Japanese religions, and the Asian continent."

The Social Dimension of Shin Buddhism

The Social Dimension of Shin Buddhism
Author: Ugo Dessì
Publsiher: BRILL
Total Pages: 292
Release: 2010-08-23
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9789004193796

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This book analyzes social aspects of Shin Buddhism (Jōdo Shinshū), a mainstream Japanese religious tradition. The contributions collected here especially focus on the intersection between Shin Buddhism, politics, education, social movements, economy, culture and the media, gender, and globalization.

Experimental Buddhism

Experimental Buddhism
Author: John K. Nelson
Publsiher: University of Hawaii Press
Total Pages: 320
Release: 2013-10-31
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9780824838348

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Based on ethnographic fieldwork and archival research, it is one of the first studies to give readers a sense of what is happening on the front lines as a growing number of Buddhist priests try to reboot their roles and traditions to gain greater significance in Japanese society. The book profiles innovative as well as controversial responses to the challenges facing Buddhist priests. From traditional activities (conducting memorial rituals; supporting residences for the elderly and infirm; providing relief for victims of natural disasters) to more creative ones (collaborating in suicide prevention efforts; holding symposia and concerts on temple precincts; speaking out against nuclear power following Japan’s 2011 earthquake; opening cafés, storefront temples, and pubs; even staging fashion shows with priests on the runway), more progressive members of Japan’s Buddhist clergy are trying to navigate a path leading towards renewed relevance in society. An additional challenge is to avoid alienating older patrons while trying to attract younger ones vital to the future of their temples. The work’s central theme of “experimental Buddhism”provides a fresh perspective to understand how priests and other individuals employ Buddhist traditions in selective and pragmatic ways. Using these inventive approaches during a time of crisis and transition for Japanese temple Buddhism, priests and practitioners from all denominations seek solutions that not only can revitalize their religious traditions but also influence society and their fellow citizens in positive ways.

Buddhism and Law

Buddhism and Law
Author: Rebecca Redwood French,Mark A. Nathan
Publsiher: Cambridge University Press
Total Pages: 408
Release: 2014-07-28
Genre: Law
ISBN: 9780521515795

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This volume challenges the concept of Buddhism as an apolitical religion without implications for law.

Genshin s j y sh and the Construction of Pure Land Discourse in Heian Japan

Genshin   s   j  y  sh   and the Construction of Pure Land Discourse in Heian Japan
Author: Robert F. Rhodes
Publsiher: University of Hawaii Press
Total Pages: 432
Release: 2017-06-30
Genre: History
ISBN: 9780824872533

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The Ōjōyōshū, written by the monk Genshin (942–1017), is one of the most important texts in the history of Japanese religions. It is the first comprehensive guide to the doctrine and practice of Pure Land Buddhism written in Japan and so played a pivotal role in establishing this form of Buddhism in the country. In Genshin’s Ōjōyōshū and the Construction of Pure Land Discourse in Heian Japan, the first book in English on the Ōjōyōshū in more than forty years, Robert F. Rhodes draws on the latest scholarship to shed new light on the text, its author, and the tumultuous age in which it was written. Rhodes begins by providing substantial discussion on the development of Pure Land Buddhism before the Ōjōyōshū’s appearance and a thorough account of Genshin’s life, the full details of which have never before been available in English. Japan in the tenth century was marked by far-reaching political, social, and economic change, all of which had a significant effect on religion, including the emergence of numerous new religious movements in Kyoto. Pure Land was the most popular of these, and the faith embraced by the Tendai scholar Genshin when he became disaffected with the growing factionalism at Enrakuji, Tendai’s central temple. A significant portion of Rhodes’ study is a wide-ranging examination of the Ōjōyōshū’s Pure Land teachings in which he describes and analyzes Genshin’s interpretations of Pure Land cosmology and nenbutsu practice. For Genshin the latter encompassed an extensive range of practices for focusing the mind on Amida Buddha—from the simple recitation of Namu Amidabutsu (“recitative nenbutsu”) to the advanced meditative practice of visualizing the buddha (“meditative nenbutsu”). According to the Ōjōyōshū, all of these are effective means for ensuring birth in Amida’s Pure Land. This impressively researched and updated treatment of the formative text in the Japanese Pure Land tradition will be welcomed by all scholars and students of Japanese religions. It also offers a fascinating window into Heian (794–1185) religious life, which will be of interest to anyone concerned with medieval Japan.

Shotoku

Shotoku
Author: Michael I. Como
Publsiher: Oxford University Press
Total Pages: 256
Release: 2008-04-18
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9780199884964

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Prince Shotoku (573?-622?), the purported founder of Japanese Buddhism, is widely referred to as Japan's first national hero. The cult that grew up around his memory is recognized as one of the most important phenomena in early Japanese religion. This book examines the creation and evolution of the Shotoku cult over the roughly 200 years following his deatha period that saw a series of revolutionary developments in the history of Japanese religion. Michael Como highlights the activities of a cluster of kinship groups who claimed descent from ancestors from the Korean kingdom of Silla. He skillfully places these groups in their socio-cultural context and convincingly demonstrates their pivotal role in bringing continental influences to almost every aspect of government and community ideology in Japan. He argues that these immigrant kinship groups were not only responsible for the construction of the Shotoku cult, but were also associated with the introduction of the continental systems of writing, ritual, and governance. By comparing the ancestral legends of these groups to the Shotoku legend corpus and Imperial chronicles, Como shows that these kinship groups not only played a major role in the formation of the Japanese Buddhist tradition, they also to a large degree shaped the paradigms in terms of which the Japanese Imperial cult and the nation of Japan were conceptualized and created. Offering a radically new picture of the Asuko and Nara period (551794), this innovative work will stimulate new approaches to the study of early Japanese religion focusing on the complex interactions among ideas of ethnicity, lineage, textuality, and ritual.

Member States Versus the European Union

Member States Versus the European Union
Author: Alan Littler
Publsiher: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers
Total Pages: 575
Release: 2011-04-11
Genre: Law
ISBN: 9789004186583

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National attempts to regulate gambling often run into conflict with the EU’s internal market. This book analyses the approaches taken at the national level against the requirements of EU law in addition to contextualizing a highly polarised debate.

Contemporary Japanese Architecture

Contemporary Japanese Architecture
Author: James Steele
Publsiher: Taylor & Francis
Total Pages: 290
Release: 2017-03-16
Genre: Architecture
ISBN: 9781317377290

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Contemporary Japanese Architecture presents a clear and comprehensive overview of the historical and cultural framework that informs the work of all Japanese architects, as an introduction to an in-depth investigation of the challenges now occupying the contemporary designers who will be the leaders of the next generation. It separates out the young generation of Japanese architects from the crowded, distinguished, multi-generational field they seek to join, and investigates the topics that absorb them, and the critical issues they face within the new economic reality of Japan and a shifting global order. Salient points in the text are illustrated by beautiful, descriptive images provided by the architects and from the extensive collection of the author. By combining illustrations with timelines and graphics to explain complex ideas, the book is accessible to any student seeking to understand contemporary Japanese architecture.

Cross Cultural Perspectives on Hagiographical Strategies

Cross Cultural Perspectives on Hagiographical Strategies
Author: Massimo A. Rondolino
Publsiher: Taylor & Francis
Total Pages: 216
Release: 2017-01-12
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9781317156949

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This book examines the potential of conducting studies in comparative hagiology, through parallel literary and historical analyses of spiritual life writings pertaining to distinct religious contexts. In particular, it focuses on a comparative analysis of the early sources on the medieval Christian Saint Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) and the Tibetan Buddhist Milarepa (c. 1052-1135), up to and including the so-called ‘standard versions’ of their life stories written by Bonaventure of Bagnoregio (1221-1274) and Tsangnyön Heruka (1452-1507) respectively. The book thus demonstrates how in the social and religious contexts of both 1200s Italy and 1400s Tibet, narratives of the lives, deeds and teachings of two individuals recognized as spiritual champions were seen as the most effective means to promote spiritual, doctrinal and political agendas. Therefore, as well being highly relevant to those studying hagiographical sources, this book will be of interest to scholars working across the fields of religion and the comparative study of religious phenomena, as well as history and literature in the pre-modern period.

A Cultural History of Japanese Buddhism

A Cultural History of Japanese Buddhism
Author: William E. Deal,Brian Ruppert
Publsiher: John Wiley & Sons
Total Pages: 320
Release: 2015-03-31
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9781118608319

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A Cultural History of Japanese Buddhism offers a comprehensive, nuanced, and chronological account of the evolution of Buddhist religion in Japan from the sixth century to the present day. Traces each period of Japanese history to reveal the complex and often controversial histories of Japanese Buddhists and their unfolding narratives Examines relevant social, political, and transcultural contexts, and places an emphasis on Japanese Buddhist discourses and material culture Addresses the increasing competition between Buddhist, Shinto, and Neo-Confucian world-views through to the mid-nineteenth century Informed by the most recent research, including the latest Japanese and Western scholarship Illustrates the richness and complexity of Japanese Buddhism as a lived religion, offering readers a glimpse into the development of this complex and often misunderstood tradition

Religion in 50 More Words

Religion in 50 More Words
Author: Aaron W. Hughes,Russell T. McCutcheon
Publsiher: Routledge
Total Pages: 314
Release: 2021-11-29
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9781000478976

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Religion in 50 More Words: A Redescriptive Vocabulary provides a succinct historical, social, and political examination of some of the key words used in the modern study of religion. Differing from the first volume’s more theoretical focus, this volume analyzes more common first order descriptive terms that are used throughout the field, inviting readers to theorize their traditional vocabulary. Topics covered include: • Atheism/Theism • Conversion • Cult • Evil • Fundamentalism • Idol • Magic • Pilgrimage • Ritual • Sacrifice Religion in 50 More Words submits such terms to a critical interrogation and subsequent redescription. This paves the way for a collective and more critical reframing of the field. The volume, along with Religion in 50 Words, provides an indispensable resource for students and academics working in the field of religious studies and cognate disciplines.

Ritualized Writing

Ritualized Writing
Author: Bryan D. Lowe
Publsiher: University of Hawaii Press
Total Pages: 352
Release: 2017-03-31
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9780824859435

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Ritualized Writing takes readers into the fascinating world of Japanese Buddhist manuscript cultures. Using archival sources that have received scant attention in English, primarily documents from an eighth-century Japanese scriptorium and colophons from sutra manuscripts, Bryan D. Lowe uncovers the ways in which the transcription of Buddhist scripture was a highly ritualized endeavor. He takes a ground-level approach by emphasizing the activities and beliefs of a wide range of individuals, including scribes, provincial patrons, and royals, to reassess the meaning of scripture and reevaluate scholarly narratives of Japanese Buddhist history. Copying scripture is a central Buddhist practice and one that thrived in East Asia. Despite this, there are no other books dedicated to the topic. This work demonstrates that patrons and scribes treated sutras differently from other modes of writing. Scribes purified their bodies prior to transcription. Patrons held dedicatory ceremonies on days of abstinence, when prayers were pronounced and sutras were recited. Transcribing sutras helped scribes and patrons alike realize this- and other-worldly ambitions and cultivate themselves in accord with Buddhist norms. Sutra copying thus functioned as a form of ritualized writing, a strategic practice that set apart scripture as uniquely efficacious and venerable. Lowe employs this notion of ritualized writing to challenge historical narratives about ancient Japan (late seventh through early ninth centuries), a period when sutra copying flourished. He contends that Buddhist practice fulfilled a variety of social, political, and spiritual roles beyond ideological justification. Moreover, he demonstrates the inadequacy of state-folk dichotomies for understanding the social groups, institutions, and individual beliefs and practices of ancient Japanese Buddhism, highlighting instead common organizations across social class and using models that reveal shared concerns among believers from diverse social backgrounds. Ritualized Writing makes broader contributions to the study of ritual and scripture by introducing the notion of scriptural cultures, an analytic tool that denotes a series of dynamic relationships and practices involving texts that have been strategically set apart or ritualized. Scripture, Lowe concludes, is at once a category created by humans and a body of texts that transforms individuals and social organizations who come into contact with it.