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Bernard Faure: "Giving the gods their due: Looking back at Japanese religion"

Paradoxically enough, the study of Japanese religion has recently neglected what should have been a key theme: its gods. A number of factors may explain that paradox. First, there is a lingering Durkheimian notion that religion is not primarily about the gods. Second, the notion that Buddhism is a religion without gods persists. Lastly, since the Meiji Restoration, there has been a widespread view that Buddhism and Shinto are the sole two Japanese religions, with the gods (kami) being the province of Shinto only.Needless to say, these conceptions are, at best, simplistic, and at worst, utterly misleading. Buddhism is replete with gods of all kinds, and the spectrum of Japanese religion includes much more than some monolithic Buddhism and Shinto. By examining a few deities that do not fall neatly into the "Buddhist" or "Shinto" categories, I will try to show that, far from being "moot" deities, they were, through most of Japanese history, part of the living reality of Japanese religion.

Details

When:

Thursday, February 4, 2016. 06:00 PM

Where:

Levinthal Hall, Stanford Humanities Center

Sponsor:

Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford, Department of Religious Studies

Contact:

650.721.6609
tanya@stanford.edu

Admission:

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC