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Practically Religious: Worldly Benefits and the Common Religion on Japan
Author Reader, Ian ; Tanabe, George Joji
PublisherUniversity of Hawaii Press
Publisher Url
LocationHonolulu, HI, US [檀香山, 夏威夷州, 美國]
Content type書籍=Book
AbstractPraying for practical benefits (genze riyaku) is a common religious activity in Japan. Despite its widespread nature and the vast numbers of people who pray and purchase amulets and talismans for everything from traffic safety and education success to business prosperity and protection from disease, the practice has been virtually ignored in academic studies or relegated to the margins as a uh_product of superstition or an aberration from the true dynamics of religion. Basing their work on a fusion of textual, ethnographic, historical, and contemporary studies, the authors of this volume demonstrate the fallacy of such views, showing that, far from being marginal, the concepts and practices surrounding genze riyaku lie at the very heart of the Japanese religious world. They thrive not only as popular religious expression but are supported by the doctrinal structures of most Buddhist sects, are ordained in religious scriptures, and are promoted by monastic training centers, shrines, and temples.
Benefits are both sought and bought, and the authors discuss the economic and commercial aspects of how and why institutions promote practical benefits. They draw attention to the dynamism and flexibility in the religious marketplace, where new products are offered in response to changing needs. Intertwined in these economic activities and motivations are the truth claims that underpin and justify the promotion and practice of benefits. The authors also examine the business of guidebooks, which combine travel information with religious advice, including humorous and distinctive forms of prayer for the protection against embarrassing physical problems and sexual diseases. Written in a direct and engaging style, Practically Religious will appeal to a wide range of readers and will be especially valuable to those interested in religion, anthropology, Buddhist studies, sociology, and Japanese studies.
Table of contentsContents
Acknowledgments xi
Introduction 1
Buddhism and This-Worldly Benefits 8
Shinto and Practical Benefits 13
Genze riyaku in Japanese Religion 14
A Common Religion 23
Overview of the Book 32
1 Benefits in the Religious System: Settings and Dynamics 37
Comprehensive Responses: Types and Extent of Practical Benefits 45
The Social Geography of Benefits: Benefits and Religious Identity 50
Changing Times and New Benefits 53
Practical Benefits, Religious Institutions, and Ritual Processes: The Case of Kawasaki Daishi 60
Individual Wishes and Social Requests 68
2 Scripture and Benefits 71
This-Worldly Promises: The Lotus Sutra 73
Benefits in Early Buddhist Teachings 77
Benefits as Divine Blessings: The Flower Garland Sutra 80
Benefits as Windfall: Fujii Masao 82
Benefits as Objectives: Iijima Yoshiharu 84
Benefits as Concession and Mystery: Ōchō Enichi 87
Benefits as Folk Syncretism: Tsuruoka Shizuo 89
Postmodern Jōdo Shin Catholicism: Sasaki Shōten 94
Enculturation through Coexistence: Nara Yasuaki 97
Sutra Buddhism as Folk Religion 100
Kubosa: Bourgeois Benefits in Shinto 102
3 Buying Out Chance: Morality, Belief, and Prayer 107
Good Luck (kōun) and Moral Luck (kaiun) 108
Material Spirituality 115
Social Welfare and Repayment of Gratitude 120
Materialism, Selfishness, and Prayers for All 123
Belief and Disbelief in Magic 126
Prayer and Purchase 136
4 The Providers of Benefits: Gods, Saints, and Wizards 140
Personalization and Purchase 143
Ninomiya’s Pill and the Gathering of Gods and Buddhas 146
Intensifying Assimilation: The Impact of Meiji Disestablishment 155
The Seven Gods of Good Fortune 156
The Place of the Gods 163
The Benefits of a Saint: Kōbō Daishi 166
Wizards 170
The Diverse Gathering 176
5 The Dynamics of Practice 178
The Open Display of Desire 181
Purchase, Practice, and the Price of Benefits 182
The Importance of Plurality 188
Rituals, Intimacy, and the Role of Priests 190
Actions, Amulets, and Obligations 192
Return and Renewal: The Cycle of Purchase and Gratitude 195
Leaving Messages: The Use of Votive Tablets 197
Pilgrimage and the Pursuit of Benefits 199
Social Organizations and the Pursuit of Benefits: Kō and Kaisha 201
The Dynamics of Practice 204
6 Selling Benefits: The Marketing of Efficacy and Truth 206
Creating a Religious Department Store 206
Marketing Reputation through Stories 209
Advertising through Events, Festivals, and Rituals 212
Contemporary Media 215
New Technologies: Selling Benefits by Fax and Internet 217
Material Goods: Wholesale Suppliers 222
Competition and Survival 225
Marketing Truth 229
Stagnation and Vibrancy 231
7 Guidebooks to Practical Benefits 234
A Nineteenth-Century Example 235
Contemporary Guidebooks 239
Guidebooks and the Reporting of Miracles 242
Unusual Benefits: The Example of the Nippon zenkoku goriyaku gaido 245
Common Religion in a Modern City: Tokyo goriyaku sanpo 247
The Religious Landscape 253
8 Conclusions 256
Notes 263
Bibliography 285
Index 299
Created date2015.07.31

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