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Bonds of the DeadTemples, Burial, and the Transformation of Contemporary Japanese Buddhism$
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Mark Michael Rowe

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226730134

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226730165.001.0001

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Sectarian Researchers and the Funeral Problem

Sectarian Researchers and the Funeral Problem

Chapter:
(p.178) Chapter Six Sectarian Researchers and the Funeral Problem
Source:
Bonds of the Dead
Author(s):

Mark Michael Rowe

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226730165.003.0007

This chapter situates temple priests in institutional networks and investigates a more conceptual, but equally critical, aspect of the funeral problem: the changing interpretation and unclear role of doctrine in mortuary practice. Specifically, it is examined here how “concrete” aspects of funerary Buddhism are transformed from institutional dilemmas into existential crises by influential sectarian scholars whose discourse guides the way Buddhist priests think about their vocation. The chapter then analyzes differing conceptions of funerary Buddhism within the activities of certain sectarian intellectuals and researchers in the Jodo, Soto, Shingon Buzanha, and Nichiren sects. This dilemma assumes a number of forms: from debates over the relationship between “true” Buddhism and folk beliefs, to concerns over the dissonance between the training of priests and the day-to-day work of local temples, and to irritation over institutional gaps between sectarian elites and local priests.

Keywords:   temple priests, institutional networks, folk beliefs, mortuary practice, funerary Buddhism, institutional dilemmas, existential crises

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