Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Series Editor’s Preface

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pp. vii-viii

Caitilin Griffiths’ study of the nuns of the Jishū provides us entrée into an important part of the history of Pure Land Buddhism in Japan. In one sense it is quite natural that the majority of modern scholarly attention has been paid to the Pure Land sects that are most prominent in Japan today: Jōdo shū and Jōdo Shin shū. Scholars have long recognized, however, that the history of Pure Land Buddhism in Japan is much more complex. There were...

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

My encounter and interest in the jishū group sprang from a passage I came across during my undergraduate years when researching a term paper (a paper long lost and forgotten). The passage read: “During times of upheaval, jishū and their patrons hide their traces in the mountains and fields. When they do so, accompanying nuns come to their aid. Both monks and nuns have the same value. Even now, there are many who request [the assistance of] our monks...

Maps and Charts

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pp. xiii-xvi

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Introduction

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pp. 1-16

The year 1344 was another year of travel for the itinerant holy man. He and his fellowship of monks and nuns were on their customary spiritual mission. Traveling from province to province, they distributed talismans, chanted the name Amida Buddha, and performed their ritualized dance for audiences far and wide. This itinerant holy man was considered to be the Buddha incarnate, and his fellowship, the jishū 時衆, were the bodhisattvas. This year, their...

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Chapter One: Female Leaders and Gendered Spaces

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pp. 17-30

Chin’ichibō was the leader of a jishū congregation of Amida Buddha Pure Land practitioners. She was the chosen successor to Okunotani Dōjō, an important practice hall that claimed connection to Ippen, and she had as her disciples both monks and nuns.1 These jishū chanted the name Amida Buddha without interruption for the six periods of the day.2 For the jishū, the continuous recitation of the Amida Buddha name was the path to rebirth for all—male...

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Chapter Two: Itinerant Path: Women on the Road

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pp. 31-55

The itinerant holy man known as Yugyō hijiri 遊行聖 or Yugyō shōnin 遊行上人 was considered to be the Buddha incarnate, and his traveling companions, the jishū, were Bodhisattvas. As a pilgrimage in reverse, the Yugyō school holy man and his mixed-gender jishū entered various villages and towns promoting the world of Pure Land through their continuous chanting in unison of the name Amida Buddha. Together they assured the entry to...

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Chapter Three: Fourteenth-Century Mixed-Gender Practice Halls

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pp. 56-76

The profound belief and importance people placed on proper devotion to the dead is attested by literary sources. Religious observances directed toward the dead to appease them and prevent them from becoming lingering and harmful spirits were a serious obligation in medieval Japan. Along with the need to mollify these spirits was the necessity to placate the gods. The frequency of droughts, typhoons, flooding, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes...

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Chapter Four: Practice Halls of Kyoto: Urban Jishū Nuns

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pp. 77-99

Fourteenth century has been described as a time of anticonformism, extravagance, and turbulence, but also as a time of innovation and transformation. The proliferation of jishū practice halls throughout the provinces corresponds to this dynamic time. In chapter 3, we examined the mixed-gender practice halls that took roots during Shinkyō’s tenure. The growing popularity of these nembutsu practitioners was not limited to wealthy provincial...

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Chapter Five: The Yugyō School: Fifteenth Century and Beyond

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pp. 100-119

Fifteenth-century documents attest to the active involvement of jishū nuns, who participated in and devoted their lives to religious services and journeys. The following record of the journey of Nanyō 南要 (1387–1470)—the sixteenth Yugyō school leader—through the island of Shikoku in the summer of 1430 is especially intriguing, as it sheds light on the early fifteenth-century Yugyō school’s jishū group and their group dynamics, and indirectly informs...

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Conclusion

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pp. 120-128

The records of female jishū, while forming only glimpses of their lives, tell us of the roles women had in the religious practices of their time. Their experiences reflect a society in which women conducted prayers and rituals in parallel with their male members. Their activities included proselytizing throughout the provinces as members of a mixed-gender fellowship. The lack of direct documentation by the women themselves must not be equated with a lack...

Appendix: Translations of Selected Texts

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pp. 129-148

Notes

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pp. 149-190

Bibliography

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pp. 191-206

Index

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pp. 207-214

About the Author

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pp. 215-216