- PhD, Princeton, 2006
Biographies of Non-Eminent Monks
I am currently collecting biographies of “non-eminent” monks. This title is meant to evoke (as well as offer a corrective to) the tendency in Buddhist studies to focus on famous exemplars of the tradition at the cost of “regular” priests. Scholarly focus on normative writings, such as doctrinal texts and the teachings of founders, often assumes that this literature describes how priests and parishioners actually relate to and practice their religion. Whereas these approaches cannot always attend to the constant reshaping of religious teachings in different settings and at different levels of a given organization, my research will focus on the various ways that Buddhism is negotiated and constructed to fit particular contexts, specifically how doctrinal ideals are transmitted to priests and how they then try to stay true to those teachings while adapting them to the needs of their parishioners. By exploring the lives of Japanese priests who epitomize how Buddhist teachings actually play out or do not play out on the ground, I hope to offer a more realistic vision of the conflicts and contradictions inherent in the tradition than frameworks that would seek to locate temples in a given sectarian lineage and then approach those temples as unproblematic reflections of doctrinal orthodoxy. I am particularly concerned to determine how, in the priests’ views, their training and education work both in support of and in tension with their daily activities.
RS 1J03 Great Books in Asian Religions
RS 2M03 Death and Dying: Comparative Views
RS 2TT3 Religion and Popular Culture in Japan
RS 3E03 Japanese Religions
RS/ARTS&SCI 3S03 East Asian Religious Traditions
RS 4H03 Topics in Asian Religions
RS 701 Issues in the Study of Religion
RS 705 Special Readings In Asian Religions
RS 709 Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Asian Religions
RS 716 Topics in Japanese Buddhism
RS 719 Topics in Modern and Contemporary Buddhism
RS781/ANTH 704 Introduction to the Anthropology of Religion
2011 Bonds of the Dead: Temples, Burials, and the Transformation of Contemporary Japanese Buddhism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
2008 "Death, Burial, and the Study of Contemporary Japanese Buddhism," Religion Compass 3/1: 18-30.
2007 "Grave Changes: Scattering Ashes in Contemporary Japan." B. Cuevas and J. I. Stone,eds. The Buddhist Dead: Practices, Discourses, and Representations. Honolulu: University of Hawai‛i Press, 378-404.
2004 "Where the Action Is: Sites of Contemporary Sōtō Buddhism." Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 31/2: 357-388.
2004 "Buddhism in Contemporary Japan: Teachings, Doctrines, and Practices." Editors' introduction written with Stephen Covell. Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 31/2: 245-254.
2000 "Stickers for Nails: The Ongoing Transformation of Roles, Rites, and Symbols in Japanese Funerals." Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 27/3-4: 353-378.
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