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A Cultural History of Japanese Buddhism

William E. Deal, Brian Ruppert

ISBN: 978-1-405-16700-0 June 2015 Wiley-Blackwell 314 Pages


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

List of Illustrations vii

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1 Early Historical Contexts (Protohistory to 645) 13

2 Ancient Buddhism (645–950) 45

3 Early Medieval Buddhism (950–1300): The Dawn of Medieval Society and Related Changes in Japanese Buddhist Culture 87

4 Late Medieval Buddhism (1300–1467): New Buddhisms, Buddhist Learning, Dissemination and the Fall into Chaos 135

5 Buddhism and the Transition to the Modern Era (1467–1800) 171

6 Modern Buddhism (1800–1945) 209

7 Buddhism Since 1945 231

Character Glossary 255

Index 000

“In short, this study is a welcome contribution to the field and will make an excellent textbook for the classroom.”  (Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 1 October 2015)

"The great value of the book is to direct readers to approaches and theories perhaps overlooked by more general histories of Buddhism. Each chapter includes its own bibliography and notes, making the book useful for study of narrow sections of Japan’s history." (Buddhist Art News 2016)