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As Appropriate: Myoe Koben and the Problem of the Vinaya in Early Kamakura Buddhism
Author Unno, Mark T.
PublisherStanford University
LocationCalifornia, US [加利福尼亞州, 美國]
Content type博碩士論文=Thesis and Dissertation
InstitutionStanford University
Publication year1995
KeywordReligious History
AbstractMyoe Koben (1173-1232) was a monk of the Kegon and Shingon schools who lived in the early Kamakura Period, a paradoxical time in the history of Japanese Buddhism. Although it has been one of the most well-researched periods of Japanese Buddhist history, those who were regarded by their contemporaries as the most prominent religious figures of that period have been largely overlooked; instead, other figures marginal during that time have come to be regarded as representative of that period. It was considered by many to be mappo, the final, degenerate age of the Dharma, when monks and nuns no longer practiced according to the teachings of the Buddha let alone attain the lofty goal of bodhi, awakening; at the same time, it was one of the richest periods of religious activity during which numerous figures across a wide spectrum of Buddhist thought and praxis were convinced that they were in an ideal situation to realize their religious aims. One of the foci of their thinking was the Vinaya, the canon of precepts, since the goal of awakening depended upon the three learnings of precepts, meditation, and wisdom; yet, disregard for the precepts was one of the central characteristics of Buddhism in the time of mappo, and many of these figures, while still measuring themselves against the precepts of the Vinaya, adopted alternative understandings of the monastic codes and the life of their religious communities.

To study Myoe is to study the paradoxes of Buddhism during the early Kamakura Period and the ways in which he attempted to negotiate them. The Vinaya and the problem of the precepts played a central role in his attempts to do so. But the precepts of the Vinaya were not the only codes he adopted, as he drew on the various resources available to him as an East Asian Mahayanist, resources that were sometimes difficult to combine. Much of his efforts would be devoted to conceiving and living a life appropriate to a Buddhist of his times. This meant not only following the precepts as the foundation and expression of meditation and wisdom but also selecting, combining, and reformulating the various resources of the precepts in an appropriate manner.

Created date1998.06.17
Modified date2016.07.01

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