World Religions I Japanese Traditions.docx

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Henry Shiu

Chapter 7 Japanese Traditions OVERVIEW The Rousing Drum  The drum makes it way on shoulders of bearers, beating, attacked by smaller drums  Like a steam vent designed to release pressure from class/economic differences  Causes many injuries and damage, but promoted by gov. as representing Spirit of Furukawa Performing Belief  Visual Kei: similar to punk, less structured and rhythmic; performer does following b4 concert:  Washes hand in temple, joins hand and bows to bodhisattva of compassion, Kannon then bows, claps her hands twice, throws coin into coffer, and prays to Benten, deity of music/performance Persistent Themes  MLK’s Protestant Reform. = Westerners think religion = personal belief, based on experience/needs  Common in Japan to have Buddhist, Shinto and Christian follower all in one person  Word for religion inexistent until 1880s; Shukyo: teachings (kyo) + sect (shu) was created  Kami: Individual spirits associated with specific natural phenomena, powers, and places  Japs tolerate doctrinal diversity at popular level; not many regulations on what is/isn’t allowed  In Japan, religious action > religious belief (i.e. buying an amulet from a shrine or temple)  Buddhism. Confucianism, Shinto were neither discrete nor autonomous Seeking Benefits  Securing benefits is pragmatic desire central to most religious traditions in Japan  Buddha or Kami? Don’t care, as long as prayers help fulfill their desire  Like a Marketplace: consumers choose which shops to take advantage of; costs, availability, benefits  They know which rituals/traditions offers appropriate help for situation at hand  After choosing a ritual, obligations & expectations are created; special respect to spiritual agent Religious and Spiritual Agents  Life energy circulates around world, humans align themselves with it through worship of Kami  Nigimitama: Kami’s peaceful side is beneficial and helps humans prosper  Aramitama: destructive side can only be endured and appeased through rituals Mythology  Kojiki: collection of regional stories compiled in 712 CE, legitimating dominance of Yamato clan  Covered the basic contours/creation of Japan  Positive, peaceful side of primordial Kami couple, Izanagi and wife Izanami, made primary elements of world and the islands  After a false start created a leech baby who was casted off, they made dimensions of natural world  Izanami gave birth to the deity of fire irrationally, and thus burned to death   Enraged Izanagi kills fire deity, goes to gates of Yomi (netherworld) to bring his wife back  She vows that she’ll kill 1000 of his subjects a day, he says he’ll create 1500 a day; b/c he shamed her as he ran away from her maggot infested corpse in the underworld  Amaterasu: female Kami of son is born from Izanagi’s left eye as he bathes in a river  The male moon Kami comes from his right eye, and last Imperial Kami, of land, from his nose  Kami are constantly at work in natural world; blessing and destruction  When well being is at risk, kami will be asked for help; they’ll enter into humans ORIGINS  Chinese histories say the land of Wa (Japan) ruled by female queen  She used black magic/windhcrath to control kami and maintain power  Early kings/emperors (2 to 5 CE) embodied the kami; ruling as function of divine will  Kofun: earthen mounds, built to house tombs of said rulers with items needed in netherworld  Unlike Egypt/China, Japanese didn’t sacrifice humans to accompany masters to next life  Placed Haniwa (clay models) providing servants, musicians, shamans, soldiers for kings’ next life  Early rulers became guardian spirits of clans, communities, regions once ruled  CHANGED AFTER 538 CE  W. Korea ruler writes about Buddhism’s supremacy to Japan king  Buddhism: new deities and rituals to protect ruler and maintain status quo  For first 150 years in Japan, Buddhism sustained mainly by clans tied to Korean immigrants  Promise of liberation, salvation, and unique teachings attracted more of Japanese  Those fleeing China/Korea from war brought cultural knowledge of Buddhism to Japan  596 CE: First Buddhist temple; early temples still in existence like Shitennoji (Osaka) Todaiji  Buddhist institution designed to house a monumental bronze statue of Cosmic Buddha  Conceived by emperor Shomu in early 740s in response to earthquakes/poor crops  Buddhism used as source of protection (rituals/prayers) and adaptation of kami and Buddhism  Japan’s kings used both religious systems to help control instability; disease, harvest, weather  Shrines/temples still have rituals for health of emperor and stability of nation; just like Todaiji  Considerable interaction between Buddhist and Shintos; now Japanese don’t distinguish Other Spiritual Agents  Bodhisattva: enlightened being delaying entry into nirvana to help all who haven’t liberated  Kannon the Compassionate: arrived from China as Guanying, began in India as Avalokiteshvara  Known mostly for intervening in human affairs; no gender but first viewed as male, now female  Committed to alleviating suffering she perceives (kan) and hears (on)  She confers gift of fearlessness in midst of terror and trouble, intercession in face of death  Her benign, all embracing, motherly qualities still embraced and used to promote tourism  Jizo (Ojizo-sama): descends into hell and frees tormented souls, protects children and travelers  Shaved head, staff, wish fulfilling jewel; frees souls of children and aborted fetuses to salvation Unsettled Spirits  Combining native folk beliefs of Japan, Korea, China with Daoist dynamics/Buddhist demonology  Spirits of ppl who lost lives to powers beyond their control become angry and possibly vengeful  Periodic rituals of acknowledgement and pacification needed to calm them  Shamans conducted spirit appeasement before Buddhism was imported  Neglecting/ignoring these spirits = retribution: storms, earthquakes, droughts, infertility, sick  Japanese culture absorbed some concepts/practices we now link with Daoism, from mainland  Movement of stars; ceilings of imperial tombs and links courts from Japan, Korea and China  Momotaro (magical peaches)/Urashima Taro (time travel) traced to Daoist immortality/alchemy  Mirror, sword, jewel, symbolize imperial house, roots in Daoist practice; shamanism influence CRYSTALLIZATIONS  First of those crystallization moments came in the formative Nara period (710-794)  In 701, a government ministry was managing shrines of kami  Sangha Office: Council of senior Buddhist priests watching behaviour, training, duties of monks  Bureaus within Ministry of Central Management represented this Buddhist organization  Religious appointments/construction needed bureaucratic supervision; afraid of religious power Tendai and Shingon  Buddhism was preserver of Nara elite, commissioned Buddhist temples to ancestors, consigned 2 /3 sons to Buddhist monasteries, sponsored Buddhist art to cultivate religious merit  804 Saicho + Kukai had diplomatic mission to study new interpretations in Buddhist practice (China)  Returned to land of the rising sun with new perspectives  Lotus Sutra: Buddhist written teaching from India; vehicle for enlightenment and salvation  Preached that only one vehicle for salvation; body in which we live here and now  Saicho founded Tendai, Kukai founded Shingon; helped domesticate Buddhist teachings/rituals  Taught a “shortcut” so the common person could reach enlightenment/salvation, become a Buddha  New doctrines assigned spiritual value to physical body (geothermal steam); body isn’t problematic  They respected local kami as they took headquarters on sacred mountains  Honji suijaku: comes from Lotus Sutra: manifestation from original state; explain implications of relationship between Buddhism and kami worship (THIRD CRYSTALLIZATION)  Honji: original ground; fundamental reality and power of diff. Buddhas and bodhisattvas  Suijaku: trace or form in which deity chooses to manifest him/herself in Japan  Kami of specific mountain = Provisional Manifestation (gongen) of a Buddha/bodhisattva  Honji Suijaku made Buddhist/Shinto deities similar but now they’re differentiated  From ninth century, Buddhism expanded overshadowing traditional kami central practices  4 main kami of Kasuga: 2 of agriculture, 2 of war = Shakyamuni, Kannon, Medicine, future Buddhas DIFFERENTIATION New Sects in the Kamakura and Muromachi Periods  3 new Buddhist practices came up during Kamakura period (1185-1333): Pure Land, Nichiren, Zen  Innovations in kami worship  known as Shinto  Stability of Heian period ended in war, overthrew courtly families in power; destroyed temples (Todaiji)  New regime in Kyoto got power from Samurai (warrior elite); centre of politics now in Kamakura  Buddhist teaching predicted that year 1052= beginning of degenerate age: Mappo: Buddhist dharma would decline, social chaos/bloody political disorder + natural disasters Pure Land Salvation  Prior to said development, Buddhism faith was only in elites and not commoners  Kuya (903-972): used song and dance to convey dharma to lower classes  Gyoki (668-749): renowned as a bodhisattva for charity and public works with common people  Genshin (942-1017): organized Pure Land beliefs into coherent system  wider public attention  His Essentials of Salvation (Ojo yoshu, 985): graphic; six realms (hell, hungry ghosts, demonic beings, animals, humans, heavenly beings)  every creature must pass through in incarnations first  Another 200 years before new institution gave practical expression to concern for ordinary believers  Honen (1133-1212): impossible to attain salvation in mappo, traditionally  recitation of nenbutsu  Saving grace of Amida didn’t discriminate against social rank, past karma, present activity  Repeated recitation of Namu Amida Butsu is enough; opened door to UNIVERSAL SALVATION  Honen banished from Kyoto in 1207 b/c he got rid of difference between lay person & learned monk  Shinran (1173-1262): Honen’s disciple tarnished temple/courtly communities by marrying; privately  Shinran banished 7 years, Hon
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