Cover

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pp. C-C

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

Series Editor's Preface

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to some of the key people who have helped in the process of completing this study. First and foremost, I want to thank the individual priests who shared their stories and experiences with me, whether in lengthy interviews or in brief encounters. Without their cooperation and understanding, this book would not exist. In particular, Rev. Akita Mitsuhiko...

Conventions

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pp. xi-xii

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Introduction

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pp. xiii-xxiv

It is reasonable to ask why anyone should care about the state and fate of Buddhism in contemporary Japan. An obvious response is to point out that like Daoism in China, Christianity in Europe, or Islam in North Africa, understanding the influences of diverse Buddhist traditions upon Japanese culture and society helps us read an entire civilization. From beliefs about causality to the spiritual ...

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Chapter 1 Experimental Buddhism: Contexts and Trajectories

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pp. 1-27

It was hours before dawn when the smell of smoke roused the Buddhist priest from his sleep. As he jumped out of bed and raced from his sleeping quarters down a long corridor, a persistent fear that his family's 400-year-old temple and its treasures would suffer damage by fire snapped into a panicked reality. The smoke thickened as he approached the main hall of the temple, and he heard ...

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Chapter 2 Japanese Versions of Buddhism

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pp. 28-69

This chapter’s brief survey of the histories, practices, attitudes, and reputations of Buddhist priests in Japan may be somewhat subversive to idealized expectations of these individuals and their traditions. Readers who cherish personal memories of a tranquil temple garden, an encounter with a kindly priest, the awesome spectacle of a Buddhist ritual or festival in full swing—or who have found certain ...

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Chapter 3 Social Welfare and Buddhist-Inspired Activism

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pp. 70-111

For people living in a fast-paced and information-saturated age, it is not surprising that desires for tranquility, emotional control, and spiritual awakening are projected onto the traditions of Buddhism. Buddhist monks and priests are thought to embody these qualities, with the Internet, television, self-help literature, advertising, Hollywood, and self-promotion encouraging the association. ...

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Chapter 4 Four Prototypes of Experimental Buddhism

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pp. 112-140

What causes a person to awake to the suffering of others and then engage in efforts to make society more humane? If education, upbringing, or intelligence were key factors, then Japan’s Buddhist priests should be world-renowned as guides and activists of compassion. After all, many of today’s priests have been raised in spacious, aesthetically pleasing settings (the temple) premised upon the ...

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Chapter 5 Alternatives and Innovations in Buddhist Religious Practice

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pp. 141-187

In the span of a few short years, the digital revolution has enabled individuals from all social and economic classes to position themselves within expansive networks that are quite unlike anything the world has seen. Just as individuals and businesses can extend their digital reach, so too can churches, temples, mosques, synagogues, or other religious organizations muster technological resources ...

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Chapter 6 The Future of Buddhism in Japan

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pp. 188-216

When thinking about where Japanese Buddhism will be twenty or more years from now, it is important to recall that in what ever context it is found, “Buddhism” is anything but a singular institution, religion, or philosophical system. We can, of course, find evidence within Japan’s Buddhist denominations for a basic set of religious ideas about spiritual awakening, salvation, and causality (to...

Appendix

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pp. 217-218

Notes

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pp. 219-260

Works Cited

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pp. 261-276

Index

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pp. 277-292

About the Author, Production Notes, Back Cover

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pp. 293-297