This book has focused on the grave as the center of the ancestral orbit. In so doing, it has traced the modern history of why that center is losing its gravitational pull and how, consequently, the economic and social bedrock of temple Buddhism in Japan has eroded to the point where even its continued existence is publicly called into question. In detailing these changes, the author has covered a broad range of materials including the social and religious elements of burial and the economic, legal, political, and commercial factors that bear upon the choices people make when they decide how to be buried and memorialized. Buddhist mortuary practices provide scholars with far-reaching insight into religious life as it is lived, institutionalized, debated, advertised, promoted, paid for, legislated, bureaucratized, studied, surveyed, and described by everyone from middle-aged metropolitan housewives to rural priests to sectarian scholarly elites.
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