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RLGA01H3 Study Guide - Haniwa, Zazen, Tenrikyo

Course Code
Henry Shiu

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Chapter 7 Japanese Traditions
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
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
Chinese histories say the land of Wa (Japan) ruled by female queen

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She used black magic/witchcraft to control kami and maintain power
Early kings/emperors (2nd to 5th 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
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)
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
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
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