Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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Preface: Discovering Secrecy’s Power

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pp. ix-xii

On a spring day in 2008 I was on my way to see a group of covert Shin Buddhists, who call their tradition Urahōmon (The Hidden Teachings) and themselves shinjingyōja (practitioners of the faith). Almost ten years had passed since I first met them. Between 1998...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xvi

The labor of many gave birth to this book. At the top of the list of people to thank is Ian Reader, who has been my mentor on religion in Japan since I was a teenager. His enthusiasm for scholarly inquiry and the example of his life have been a continual source of inspiration...

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Conventions

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pp. xvii-xviii

I have used abbreviated pseudonyms (e.g., K-sensei) to protect the identities of covert Shin Buddhists who agreed to speak with me for my research. Japanese names where mentioned in full are given with the surname first, except in rare cases where a Japanese author has...

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Introduction: Secrecies in Religion and Shin Buddhism

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pp. 1-24

This book aims to contribute to two fields of knowledge that are often studied separately but rarely together: Shin Buddhism and secrecy. Shin, as a tradition with a strong devotional focus on Amida Buddha and one of the most popular forms of Buddhism in Japan, is...

Part One: Secrecy in the History of Covert Shin Buddhists

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1. Secrecy Causes Criticism and Persecution: Kakushi Nenbutsu in Shin History

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pp. 27-61

Secrecy pervaded social organizations in Japan between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. Secret oral transmissions (kuden), supported by secret rituals (himitsu shuhō) and secret formulas (hihō), helped define lineages. The numerous lineages on Mt. Hiei distinguished...

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2. Secrecy Preserves and Transforms: The Creation of a Shinto-Shin Tradition

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pp. 62-100

While secrecy can lead to criticism and persecution, as the history of Kakushi nenbutsu shows, it also has the power to protect from persecution. Its power to protect and preserve a religion that is practiced in a hostile context is evident in the history of religions...

Part Two: Concealment in Contemporary Urahōmon

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3. Secrecy Alters by Separating and Joining: Dissimulation and Simulation in Urahōmon

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pp. 103-124

The history of covert Shin Buddhists up to the mid-nineteenth century shows that secrecy has the power to produce antithetical consequences. It can lead to persecution, or protect the persecuted. After the Edo period covert Shin Buddhists faced less threat of persecution...

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4. Secrecy Creates Dilemmas: Transmitting Secrets in and beyond Urahōmon

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pp. 125-146

The shinjingyōja’s concerns about neighbors and acquaintances perceiving them with suspicion if they came to know them as belonging to a secret organization are valid. There is cynicism about secrecy in Japan just as there is in much of the world today. The old English...

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5. Secrecy Gives Order: Ura Shin Teachings and Initiation Rites

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pp. 147-169

If secrecy causes so many problems, as we have seen in previous chapters, and the shinjingyōja are not doing anything illegal or embarrassing, why do they not come out in the open? If they abandoned secrecy and allowed the public to know more about...

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Epilogue

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pp. 170-180

From the perspective of mainstream, temple-based Shin, we might characterize covert Shin Buddhists as “marginal.” Their numbers have never been large compared to the Shin population as a whole. Their influence on major historical events has been negligible, and they have...

Notes

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pp. 181-198

Glossary of Japanese Characters

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pp. 199-214

Bibliography

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pp. 215-234

Index

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pp. 235-246