Early Encounters of Shin Buddhism with Shintō

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Shin Buddhism is often considered to be the tradition that most radically disassociates itself from Shintō from the very beginning of its history. This is evident in one of the most well-known biographies of its founder, Shinran (1173-1263) as well as–to a significant extent–in Shinran’s own writings. How-ever, the question of the relationship between Amida Buddha, various kami, and other Buddhist deities remained an open question.

In fact, a strategy for inclusion or exclusion of so-called “alien” religious denominations is a signifi-cant concern that Shin Buddhism shares with basical-ly all the Buddhist sects in Japan. This talk will try to shed light on different approaches within Shin Bud-dhism, focussing on the writings of Kakunyo (1271-1351) and Zonkaku (1290-1373), and discuss-ing strategies and arguments that lead to nearly opposite understandings of the relationship with Shint?. In this context, the connections between hagiography and doctrine have particular signifi-cance for the self-consciousness of a religious group. As it will be argued, hagiography is not merely a political tool to legitimize power, but also a place where an author can develop forms of doctrinal debate.

Please refer to the attached document for more details.

Thursday, November 28th 18:00h
École Française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO)
Italian School of East Asian Studies (ISEAS)