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Japanese Temple Buddhism

Worldliness in a Religion of Renunciation

Stephen G. Covell

There have been many studies that focus on aspects of the history of Japanese Buddhism. Until now, none have addressed important questions of organization and practice in contemporary Buddhism, questions such as how Japanese Buddhism came to be seen as a religion of funeral practices; how Buddhist institutions envision the role of the laity; and how a married clergy has affected life at temples and the image of priests. This volume is the first to address fully contemporary Buddhist life and institutions—topics often overlooked in the conflict between the rhetoric of renunciation and the practices of clerical marriage and householding that characterize much of Buddhism in today’s Japan. Informed by years of field research and his own experiences training to be a Tendai priest, Stephen Covell skillfully refutes this "corruption paradigm" while revealing the many (often contradictory) facets of contemporary institutional Buddhism, or as Covell terms it, Temple Buddhism. Covell significantly broadens the scope of inquiry to include how Buddhism is approached by both laity and clerics when he takes into account temple families, community involvement, and the commodification of practice. He considers law and tax issues, temple strikes, and the politics of temple boards of directors to shed light on how temples are run and viewed by their inhabitants, supporters, and society in general. In doing so he uncovers the economic realities that shape ritual practices and shows how mundane factors such as taxes influence the debate over temple Buddhism’s role in contemporary Japanese society. In addition, through interviews and analyses of sectarian literature and recent scholarship on gender and Buddhism, he provides a detailed look at priests’ wives, who have become indispensable in the management of temple affairs.

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Korean Buddhist Nuns and Laywomen

Hidden Histories, Enduring Vitality

Explores the roles of Korean Buddhist nuns and laywomen from the Koryo period to the present. Uncovering hidden histories, this book focuses on Korean Buddhist nuns and laywomen from the tenth century to the present. Today, South Korea’s Buddhist nuns have a thriving monastic community under their own control, and they are well-known as meditation teachers and social service providers. However, little is known of the women who preceded them. Using primary sources to reveal that which has been lost, forgotten, or willfully ignored, this work reveals various figures, milieux, and activities of female adherents, clerical and lay. Contributors consider examples from the Koryo period (982-1392), when Buddhism flourished as the state religion, to the Choson period (1392-1910), when Buddhism was actively suppressed by the Neo-Confucian court, to the resurgence of female monasticism that began in the latter part of the twentieth century.

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The Kyoto School

An Introduction

Robert E. Carter

An accessible discussion of the thought of key figures of the Kyoto School of Japanese philosophy.

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The Lama Question

Violence, Sovereignty, and Exception in Early Socialist Mongolia

Christopher Kaplonski

Before becoming the second socialist country in the world (after the Soviet Union) in 1921, Mongolia had been a Buddhist feudal theocracy. Combatting the influence of the dominant Buddhist establishment to win the hearts and minds of the Mongolian people was one of the most important challenges faced by the new socialist government. It would take almost a decade and a half to resolve the “lama question,” and it would be answered with brutality, destruction, and mass killings. Chris Kaplonski examines this critical, violent time in the development of Mongolia as a nation-state and its ongoing struggle for independence and recognition in the twentieth century. Kaplonski draws on a decade of research and archival resources to investigate the problematic relationships between religion and politics and geopolitics and biopolitics in early socialist Mongolia, as well as the multitude of state actions that preceded state brutality.

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Land of Beautiful Vision

Sally McAra

Land of Beautiful Vision is the first book-length ethnography to address the role of material culture in contemporary adaptations of Buddhism and the first to focus on convert Buddhists in New Zealand. Sally McAra takes as her subject a fascinating instance of an ongoing creative process whereby a global religion is made locally meaningful through the construction of a Buddhist sacred place. She uses an in-depth case study of a small religious structure, a stupa, in rural New Zealand to explore larger issues related to the contemporary surge in interest in Buddhism and religious globalization. Her research extends beyond the level of public discourse on Buddhism to investigate narratives of members of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (FWBO) about their relationship with the land, analyzing these and the FWBO’s transformative project through a thematic focus on key symbolic landmarks at their site, Sudarshanaloka. In considering cross-cultural interactions resulting in syncretism or indigenization of alien religions, many anthropological studies concentrate on the unequal power relations between colonizing and colonized peoples. McAra extrapolates from this literature to look at a situation where the underlying power relations are quite different. She focuses on individuals in an organization whose members seek to appropriate knowledge from an "Eastern" tradition to remake their own society—one shaped by its unresolved colonizing past.

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Land of Pure Vision

The Sacred Geography of Tibet and the Himalaya

David Zurick. foreword by Eric Valli

The landscapes of Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan are filled with holy places. Some are of natural origin -- summits, rivers and lakes, caves, or forest sanctuaries. Others are consecrated by religious practice -- shrines, temples, monasteries, or burial grounds. The holy sites of the Himalaya unite faith and geography to produce some of the most sublime places on Earth.

In Land of Pure Vision, David Zurick draws from his thirty-five years of experience as a geographer, photographer, and explorer of the Himalaya, combining scholarship and art to capture divine landscapes undergoing profound change. The stunning photographs featured in this volume cover the full geographical reach of the region, from the high plateaus of the western Himalaya to the rugged gorges of Tibet's eastern borderlands, from the icy summits of the north to the subtropical southern foothills. Some sites exist in isolation, with intact natural environments and cultural monuments. Others display the tension between the ancient, sacred character of a place and the indifferent course of the modern world.

Land of Pure Vision explores how the religious practices of Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, and shamanism interweave holy sites into a cohesive landscape of transcendent beauty and inspiration. It portrays a world of mystery, magic, and beauty, where the human spirit is in synchronicity with natural forces. Beyond elegy, this beautifully illustrated book is a visual ethnography of people and place.

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Lay Buddhism in Contemporary Japan

Reiyukai Kyodan

Helen Hardacre

Basing her book on four years of field work (including interviews, a survey of 2,000 Reiyukai members, and eight months of residence with believers), she analyzes Reiyukai ancestor worship and veneration of the Lotus Sutra. She explains the enduring appeal of a religion, founded in 1919, that dedicates itself to the spread of true Buddhism" and that retains its core intact, in spite of a number of schisms.

Originally published in 1984.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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The Legend of King Asoka

A Study and Translation of the Asokavadana

John S. Strong

An English translation of the Asokavadana text, the Sanskrit version of the legend of King Asoka, first written in the second century A.D. Emperor of India during the third century B.C. and one of the most important rulers in the history of Buddhism, Asoka has hitherto been studied in the West primarily from his edicts and rock inscriptions in many parts of the Indian subcontinent. Through an extensive critical essay and a fluid translation, John Strong examines the importance of the Asoka of the legends for our overall understanding of Buddhism.

Originally published in 1989.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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The Lotus and the Lion

Buddhism and the British Empire

Buddhism is indisputably gaining prominence in the West, as is evidenced by the growth of Buddhist practice within many traditions and keen interest in meditation and mindfulness. In The Lotus and the Lion, J. Jeffrey Franklin traces the historical and cultural origins of Western Buddhism, showing that the British Empire was a primary engine for curiosity about and then engagement with the Buddhisms that the British encountered in India and elsewhere in Asia. As a result, Victorian and Edwardian England witnessed the emergence of comparative religious scholarship with a focus on Buddhism, the appearance of Buddhist characters and concepts in literary works, the publication of hundreds of articles on Buddhism in popular and intellectual periodicals, and the dawning of syncretic religions that incorporated elements derived from Buddhism.

In this fascinating book, Franklin analyzes responses to and constructions of Buddhism by popular novelists and poets, early scholars of religion, inventors of new religions, social theorists and philosophers, and a host of social and religious commentators. Examining the work of figures ranging from Rudyard Kipling and D. H. Lawrence to H. P. Blavatsky, Thomas Henry Huxley, and F. Max Müller, Franklin provides insight into cultural upheavals that continue to reverberate into our own time. Those include the violent intermixing of cultures brought about by imperialism and colonial occupation, the trauma and self-reflection that occur when a Christian culture comes face-to-face with another religion, and the debate between spiritualism and materialism. The Lotus and the Lion demonstrates that the nineteenth-century encounter with Buddhism subtly but profoundly changed Western civilization forever.

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The Lotus Unleashed

The Buddhist Peace Movement in South Vietnam, 1964-1966

Robert Topmiller

During the Vietnam War, Vietnamese Buddhist peace activists made extraordinary sacrifices—including self-immolation—to try to end the fighting. They hoped to establish a neutralist government that would broker peace with the Communists and expel the Americans. Robert J. Topmiller explores South Vietnamese attitudes toward the war, the insurgency, and U.S. intervention, and lays bare the dissension within the U.S. military. The Lotus Unleashed is one of the few studies to illuminate the impact of internal Vietnamese politics on U.S. decision-making and to examine the power of a nonviolent movement to confront a violent superpower.

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