The spread of letterpress and other Western-style printing technologies throughout Japanese society during the Meiji period (1868-1912) is often thought to be the cause of the rapid decline in traditional printing technologies that had existed since the Edo period (1603-1868). However, in the case of highly specialized books like Buddhist volumes, well-established publishing companies that had existed since the Edo period had an enthusiastic readership firmly in their grip. Insofar as these companies adopted the strategy of only publishing the minimum number of books they could sell, there was no need for them to rush to introduce letterpress printing or master mass-quantity or high-speed printing technologies. Yet, Buddhist publishing companies in Tokyo quickly introduced Western-style printing technologies from the late 1880s to late 1890s, as Meiji Enlightenment-era intellectuals had themselves formed publishing companies in an attempt to widely share Buddhist doctrines with the general public. Conversely, Kyoto Buddhist publishing companies persisted in using woodblock printing and Japanese-style book-binding, as they needed to sell commentaries on Buddhist scriptures and the like to priests engaging in religious training. However, as the western style grew more prevalent, Kyoto Buddhist companies began to recognize the convenience of smaller, letterpress-printed, Western-bound books. Thus, the turn of the nineteenth century marked the beginning of the decline of Japan's traditional printing technologies.
Jikigyō Miroku (real name Kobayashi 1671-1733) was an ascetic of the fifth generation from Kakugyō Tōbutsu (1541-1646), an ascetic who practiced a unique Mt. Fuji faith. The details concerning the Mt. Fuji faith were written by Jikigyō when he was sixty years old, in his second work Issai no ketsujō yomiuta (Determination of all and my poetry).
Getsugyō, his mentor, proposed that the Miroku no miyo (Era of Miroku) started on 15 June 1688, which transferred world domination from Japanese traditional gods to the god of Mt. Fuji. Forty years later, Jikigyō expanded the doctrine of his mentor in his first work Ichiji fusetsu wo hiraki Miroku no miyo no wake wo kakioki mōshisōrō (I open a secret letter which cannot be explained, and write the circumstances of the era of Miroku). When Jikigyō was getting old he restarted Miroku no miyo at the summit of Mt. Fuji. He called his climbing of Mt. Fuji the next year as Issai no ketsujō (Determination of all).
Jikigyō is a famous ascetic in the history of Mt. Fuji faith, but his second book has not been studied. I have tried to study it using a transcribed text from a manuscript wrote by Jikigyō himself. The significance of this paper is that the presented synopsis is easy to understand, and that it examines the word of ketsujō as a keyword for Jikigyō.
Tanni-shō, as indicated by the title, was written by Yuien who grieved over the differences in faith in the religious community after the death of Shinran, because he wanted to make everyone's faith the same and get rid of doubt. The text is concise and intimate. It is read widely not only by people of the Shin denomination but also those with an interest in philosophy and ethics, and there are diverse interpretations. One of the problems in the interpretation of Tanni-shō is that Shinran and Yuien were in a different situation, and their viewpoints are not necessarily of one piece. Noting these differences, this paper attempts a unified interpretation of “Nenbutsu-sha” which is currently divided into two meanings, reaffirm the significance of Chapter VII, and clarifies Shinran's intents concerning the absolute other-power of Amitābha.
This paper examines a history of evolutionary theories of religion from the nineteenth century to the present. “Evolutionary theories of religion” can be regarded as a type of theory that orders religions according to a certain temporal framework. In the history of evolutionary theories of religion, existing studies have only focused on theories which posit development from magic, through religion, to science. In fact, evolutionary theories of religion can be found throughout the history of religious studies in a variety of forms. Evolutionary theories of religion have developed through the connection with biological evolutionary theories of the times.
In the beginning, this paper identifies three different meanings of evolution. Then, it redefines “evolutionary theories of religion” as a sort of theory that sets a criterion of progress and arranges religions accordingly. Afterward, within the scope of the definition, a genealogy of evolutionary theories of religion is described. Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer established the framework of these theories. In the mid-twentieth century, neo-evolutionism revitalized this framework and Talcott Parsons and Robert Bellah adapted it as a social change theory. Finally, evolutionary theories of religion in the twenty-first century are examined.
To examine the beliefs of nonreligious spiritual caregivers, this study considered their activity to accept clients' “here and now” and simply stay beside the clients as “prayer.” Novelist Ōe Kenzaburō and photographer Fujiwara Shinya referred to the notion of a “prayer without religious faith.” Borrowing from their discussion, we defined a prayer as something in which people accept themselves as “nothing” when people face the limit of human power in extreme situations. This prayer is supported by a belief that “even though this happened, the world will continue.” Through this prayer, a person, who is nothing, tries to accept another person, who is nothing, and deceased people, who died as nothing, by looking after them with loving care. This belief and prayer is supported by the original Japanese perception of the evanescence of life and the tradition of memorial services for ancestors to communicate with living people.
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