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Look Inside The Religious Traditions of Japan 500–1600

The Religious Traditions of Japan 500–1600


  • Date Published: March 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521720274

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About the Authors
  • Richard Bowring describes in outline the development of Japanese religious thought and practice from the introduction of writing to the point at which medieval attitudes gave way to a distinctive pre-modern culture, a change that brought an end to the dominance of religious institutions. A wide range of approaches using the resources of art, history, social and intellectual history, as well as doctrine is brought to bear on the subject. The result is as full a picture as possible of the richness of the Japanese tradition as it succeeded in holding together on the one hand Buddhism, with its sophisticated intellectual structures, and on the other hand the disparate local cults that eventually achieved a kind of unity under the rubric of Shintō. An understanding of this process of constant and at times difficult interaction is essential to a deeper appreciation of Japan's history and its cultural achievements.

    • The first Western language book to give an overview of the interaction between Buddhism and Shintō in Japanese culture
    • Takes account of the latest scholarship on Japan's religious traditions
    • A comprehensive guide to this long and formative period in Japan's religious history
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'An absolute must for graduate courses on Japanese religion. It is unlikely to be eclipsed by another general English-language work on the history of religion in pre-modern Japan for many years to come.' Gary P. Leupp, Journal of the American Academy of Religion

    '… an engrossing, fascinating, and exhaustive study.' Brian O. Ruppert, The Journal of Japanese Studies

    '… this volume offers much to both the novice student of Japanese Buddhism and the seasoned scholar.' James L. Ford, Monumenta Nipponica

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521720274
    • length: 502 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 30 mm
    • weight: 0.8kg
    • contains: 34 b/w illus. 11 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Arrival of Buddhism and Its Effects (c.538–800):
    1. The introduction of Buddhism
    2. Creating a dynasty
    3. Buddhism and the early state
    4. Monuments at Nara
    Part II. From Saichō to the Destruction of Tōdaiji (800–1180):
    5. The beginnings of a 'Japanese' Buddhism: Tendai
    6. The beginnings of a 'Japanese' Buddhism: Shingon
    7. Buddhism and the state in Heian Japan
    8. Shrine and state in Heian Japan
    9. The rise of devotionalism
    10. A time for strife
    Part III. From the Destruction of Tōdaiji to the Fall of Godaigo (1180–1330):
    11. For and against exclusive practice of the nenbutsu
    12. Religious culture of the early 'middle ages'
    13. Chan Buddhism
    14. Zen Buddhism
    15. Reform from within and without
    16. The emergence of Shintō
    17. Taking stock
    Part IV. From the Fall of Godaigo to the Death of Nobunaga (1330–1582):
    18. Two rival courts
    19. Muromachi Zen
    20. The end of the medieval
    21. Appendix: reading Shingon's two mandala.

  • Author

    Richard Bowring, University of Cambridge
    Richard Bowring is Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Cambridge and Master of Selwyn College, Cambridge. He is co-author of The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Japan (1993) and has written a number of Japanese Language textbooks.

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