Organizer: Samuel Hideo Yamashita, Pomona College
Chair: Neil F. McMullin, University of Toronto
Haruko Wakabayashi, Princeton University
The Kamakura Period is known for various reform movements within the traditional Buddhist institutions and rise in new schools of Buddhism. Consequently, we see in this period persecutions of the new groups such as the nembutsu and Zen sects by the old institutions like Kofukuji and Enryakuji, and in turn, criticisms against the old by the new sects.
The Tengu zoshi, a set of seven emaki (narrative scroll paintings) dated 1296, depicts priests of both old and new schools as tengu. Tengu, a winged, beaked demon, frequently appear in medieval Japan as manifestations of the Buddhist concepts of evil; therefore, the Tengu zoshi can be read as a critique of Buddhist institutions, both old and new. In this paper, I shall discuss the nature of criticisms against late Kamakura Buddhism which is revealed in the Tengu zoshi, focusing particularly on its use of the images of tengu.
The Tengu zoshi presents two major notions of tengu which had developed by the Kamakura Period. In the first five scrolls, depicting the traditional temples of Nara and Kyoto, the priests have become tengu because of their pride in their own temples and teachings. This image of tengu derives from the concept of tengudo, the realm of tengu, into which priests with no true knowledge but attachment, arrogance and prejudice, were believed to fall after their deaths. The texts detailing the temples' histories and miraculous events show that the author does not deny the superiority of these institutions, but believes that such superiority, ironically, has led the priests to become arrogant, and turn into tengu. Temple records, literary works and diaries abundantly attest that priests' attachment to fame, their lack of religiosity, and conflicts among the temples were a major social as well as religious concern of the age. The Tengu zoshi, by portraying the priests as tengu, uses the concept of tengudo to express such criticisms.
The second image of tengu deployed in the Tengu zoshi is the anti-Buddhist image which had likewise emerged as a symbol of evil in Buddhist narrative literature (setsuwa). These tengu represent an evil which defies Buddhism or disturbs Buddhist priests and hinders them from attaining enlightenment. This image is used to portray Ippen, the leader of the new Jishu school, and the hoka priests, the wandering, entertaining priests often associated with Zen. The author of the scroll chooses major activities Ippen and the hoka priests practiced to promote their teachings, and depicts them as the deeds of tengu who mislead the people and cause the decline of the Dharma. We see here the intolerant rejection of Ippen and the hoka priests, a typical attitude of the traditional schools toward such new groups.
The Tengu zoshi concludes that the tengu of various sects get together, decide to become engaged in serious practice, and through their own ways, eventually achieve ojo (birth into the Pure Land). This scene suggests that the author has not completely lost faith in Buddhism of the time. Ippen and the hoka priests, however, are not included in this circle.
In sum, the Tengu zoshi is a depiction of two kinds of tengu-evil in late Kamakura Buddhist society: (1) the corruption within institutional Buddhism, against which the author gives constructive criticism so as to bring about reform and revival; and (2) the new schools which themselves are considered as evil which disturbs the order of the Buddhist world, and therefore is denied any possibility of positive future. In order to distinguish the difference in the nature of criticism against the old and the new schools, the author uses different images of tengu which had developed by this time.
Karen A. Smyers, Wesleyan University
Although Inari worship tends to be thought of largely as a "Shinto" phenomenon, it also takes place in Buddhist, "folk" (i.e., institutionally unaffiliated), and shamanic modes. Often these different types of worship occur at the same sacred center, such as Fushimi Inari Shrine or Toyokawa Inari Temple (Myogonji). How the various religious practitioners, particularly priests and shamans, view the presence and rituals of the others is the subject of this paper.
The tension between priestly and shamanic worship rests primarily on the source of the authority by which the god's word is transmitted to the people. Priests tend to stress the historical continuity of ritual forms transmitted within a single shrine or sect, while shamans claim to have direct communication with the deity in the present day. These competing claims of authority are further complicated by issues of gender: priests tend to be male and shamans tend to be female in the world of Japanese religions, therefore cultural stereotypes of gender also become part of the opposition. The emphasis on "magical" or "rational" ways of thinking also distinguishes the two groups.
Scholars of religion have noted the distinction between "charisma of office" and "personal charisma" (Weber 1922) in many contexts. In this case of Inari, mutual antagonisms paradoxically lead to mutual benefits. Priestly rituals and history stabilize and center Inari worship; shamanic innovations keep it relevant and bring in new members.
Philip Clart, University of British Columbia
The paper deals with the main deity of a central Taiwanese spirit-writing cult (luantang), the "August Mother of the Non Ultimate" (Wuji Huangmu), more informally called "Old Mother" (Laomu) or simply "Mother" (Muniang). She is a variant of the well-known "Eternal Mother" (Wusheng Laomu) worshipped by many sectarian groups from the Ming dynasty until today. The author uses textual analysis of the cult's writings, especially its two recitation scriptures, "The August Mother of the Non Ultimate's Celestial Scripture for Awakening [the World]" (Wuji Huangmu huanxing tianjing) and "The Non Ultimate's Profound and Marvelous Scripture for Proving the Way" (Wuji zhengdao xuanmiao jing), as well as interview and observation data gathered during an eight month period of field research (1993-94).
The author tries to give an overview of the mythology attaching to the Old Mother in this particular cult group, and the role she plays within its structure and in the lives of its members. These aspects are then compared with their analogues in other Mother-worshipping sects like the Cihui Tang and Yiguan Dao. Particular attention is paid to Yiguan Dao ("Unity Sect"), because Mother worship is a later addition to this particular spirit writing cult, taken up under Yiguan Dao influence. A general consideration of the relationship between Yiguan Dao and spirit writing cults in Taiwan concludes the paper.
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