Shinto and Buddhism in Medieval Japan
When Buddhist religion was introduced to Japan in the 6th century the people of Japan were already engaged in elaborate and diverse religious observances. We now refer to those observances as Shinto religion. At the time, although many quickly recognized the sophistication of Buddhist doctrines, there was also a sense that Japan’s native gods (kami) and Shinto rituals fulfilled roles that Buddhist divinities and rituals did not. As a result, the concept of honji suijaku (Originals and their traces) was developed. According to this paradigm, it was claimed that Buddhist deities appeared in Japan in the form of kami. In other words, some kami (but not all) were just local manifestations of Buddhist deities. Honji suijaku continued to influence the understanding of divinity and religion in Japan until the modern era. It made it possible, even necessary, for people to respect and worship both Buddhist and Shinto divinities without feeling any contradiction or ambivalence.
In your essay, please discuss the relationship between local (Shinto) and foreign (Buddhist) religion in early and medieval Japan. I would like you to explore the basic question of how and why Japanese people understood Shinto and Buddhism, and especially the concept honji suijaku.
The essays should be from 6 to 8 pages long (1500-2000 words), double spaced and written on 8.5″ x 11″ paper, no more than a 1″ margin on all sides, with the font no larger than 12 pts. All work should be written in Standard English, clear and organized, and free of grammatical and spelling errors. Ideas taken from other people’s works should be so acknowledged. This is a humanities-based course. The most common essay format style for footnotes and bibliographies is the Modern Language Association style, or MLA style.
here are some tips.
1)Write taking into consideration what you have learned and researched. You cannot give an opinion that is not backed up by information. There must be substance in what you write.
2) Write with an analytical bent. A descriptive essay along with simple summaries and quotations would normally fall into the D/C range. Essays that are problem-oriented will get the higher marks. Aside from the question “What happened?” go beyond to “How did it happen?” and “Why did it happen?”
3) Pay attention to your writing. Write in good, clear English.
Please reference to at least three of the following works in your discussion. You may, of course, do background reading, but if you use material not on this list you must cite it clearly. There must also be a very strong and persuasive reason that you have used material not on this list.
1. Andreeva, Anna. “Medieval Shinto: New Discoveries and Perspectives”
Religion Compass 4/11 (2010): 679–693.
2. Blair, Heather. “Religion and Politics in Heian-Period Japan” Religion Compass 7/8 (2013): 284–293.
3. Bouchy, Anne-Marie. “The Cult of Mount Atago and the Atago Confraternitites” The Journal of Asian Studies, 1987, Vol.46(2), pp.255-277
4. Grapard, Allan G. “Shrines Registered in Ancient Japanese Law: Shinto or Not?”
Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 29/3-4 (2002): 209-232.
5. Kitagawa, Joseph M. “Paradigm Change in Japanese Buddhism” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 11/ 2-3, (1984):115-142.
6. Kuroda, Toshio and Fabio Rambelli. “The Discourse on the “Land of Kami”
(Shinkoku) in Medieval Japan: National Consciousness and International Awareness”
Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 23/3-4 (1996): 353-385.
7. Rambelli, Fabio. “Before the First Buddha Medieval Japanese Cosmogony and
the Quest for the Primeval Kami” Monumenta Nipponica, Volume 64, Number 2,
(Autumn 2009), pp. 235-271.
8.Satõ, Hiroo,. “Wrathful Deities and Saving Deities” in Teeuwen, Mark & Rambelli, Fabio eds., Buddhas and Kami in Japan: Honji Suijaku as a Combinatory Paradigm. Taylor & Francis, 2002. 95-114.
9. Teeuwen, Mark. “Comparative perspectives on the emergence of jindō and Shinto” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 70 / 2 (2007): 373- 402.
10. Teeuwen, Mark. Rambelli, Fabio eds. “Introduction” in Teeuwen, Mark & Rambelli, Fabio eds., Buddhas and Kami in Japan: Honji Suijaku as a Combinatory Paradigm. Taylor & Francis, 2002. 1-53.
Shinto and Buddhism in Medieval Japan
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