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

A much-discussed characteristic of modernity is the change in understanding the nature of religion. Since the Reformation, religion has increasingly been interpreted as a private and experiential matter. This has been congruent with the growing sequestration of religion to a realm...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

This book began as a dissertation supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the J. W. McConnell Family Foundation, and the Faculty of Religious Studies of McGill University. I thank Lara Braitstein, Maurice Boutin, Clark Chilson, and Yuriko Furuhata...

Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-16

For a thousand years, Japanese Buddhists cultivated vivid images of utopia in the form of the Western Paradise. In defiance of common sense, they insisted on the existence of a world unlike our own—a place of perfect ease and unrestricted access to liberation. The Pure Land constructed...

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1. The Land in Pure Land

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pp. 17-46

It is a truism that Japanese Pure Land Buddhists have traditionally imagined the Western Paradise as a transcendent pocket universe, located at the far edge of the universe, which we will reach only after death. Thus it seems that the Shinshū traditionalist has no alternative but to despise...

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2. The Modern Tradition

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pp. 47-85

James Dobbins uses the term “Shin Buddhist modernism” to describe a “new articulation of Shinran’s thought” that followed “the advent of scientific consciousness” and the crisis of Meiji-period attacks on Buddhism (haibutsu kishaku 廃仏毀釈) (2004, 108). Without neglecting its revisionist...

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3. Special Marxist, Special Buddhist: Kawakami Hajime

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pp. 86-120

In January 1946, the members of Kyoto University’s Department of Economics gathered for the funeral of Kawakami Hajime, a former member of the department and Japan’s most famous Marxist economist. In the course of events, conversation apparently turned to the topic of the...

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4. Pure Land for the People: Miki Kiyoshi

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pp. 121-159

In 1932, Miki Kiyoshi was identified by his friend Tosaka Jun (1900–1945) as the emerging leader of the generation of young Japanese philosophers working under the banner of “Nishida philosophy.” By the summer of 1945, Miki’s mentor Nishida Kitarō (1870–1945) was dead, and both Tosaka...

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5. Man without a Hometown: Ienaga Saburō

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pp. 160-189

Ienaga Saburō was born in Nagoya in 1913. When he was still an infant, his family moved to Kyushu and then onward to Osaka. By his own account, however, he came from nowhere: “In ‘who’s who’ dictionaries, he always leaves the space for ‘birthplace’ blank because ‘birthplace’ is usually...

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Epilogue: “Let Us Read Shinran, Young People!”

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pp. 190-198

Before the modern period, when it was easy to imagine the distant Western Paradise as enfolded within this world and the future encounter with Amida as piercing the present moment, the utopian order of the Pure Land licensed many different kinds of resistance to the regimes of the real...

Notes

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pp. 199-210

Works Cited

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pp. 211-232

Index

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pp. 233-244