Online ISSN : 2424-2616
Print ISSN : 0018-2478
ISSN-L : 0018-2478
On Death and Taking the Tonsure at Dojo in Medieval Period
Chisato Kanda
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1988 Volume 97 Issue 9 Pages 1481-1515,1630


This article aims to shed some light upon faith or the concept of death in the medieval age through an examination of the characters and the functions of the place called dojo (道場). Many temples were, in this age, called dojo, a word which seems to have closely reflected what a religious place was in the minds of contemporaries. In the first place, the author, paying attention to the fact that dojo was a place for dying and sick persons, a place of execution, and that of the suicide by defeated warriors, shows that it was believed to be the spot which enabled the dead to be born again in jodo (浄土, the pure land), through an examination of honzon (本尊) to whom the dojo was sacred. Then the author surveys odorinenbutsu (踊念仏), music, and the inscription of one's name, which were carried out at dojo with the desire that one's death should admit him to be born again in jodo. Secondly, the author considers why dojo was an asylum for defeated warriors, or criminals wanted by the authorities. He points out the following two points: 1)these warriors or criminals fled to dojo to become monks, 2)these monks were forced to live, in order not to survive, but to accept at any time their death, under a strict subordination to the chishiki (知識, master). The author concludes that the situation of these monks enabled dojo to be recognized as an asylum. Lastly the author surveys the changes of dojo in succeeding ages.

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© 1988 The Historical Society of Japan
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