The first English-language overview of the interaction of Buddhism and Shintō in Japanese culture.
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 Shinto. 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.
Introduction; 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 Saicho to the Destruction of Todaiji (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 Todaiji 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 Shinto; 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.
Richard Bowring traces the development of Japanese religious thought and practice from the introduction of writing to the point when medieval attitudes gave way to a distinctive pre-modern culture. This is the first English-language book to provide an overview of how Buddhism and Shinto interacted in Japanese culture.
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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