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Weaving and BindingImmigrant Gods and Female Immortals in Ancient Japan$
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Michael Como

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824829575

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824829575.001.0001

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The Queen Mother of the West and the Ghosts of the Buddhist Tradition

The Queen Mother of the West and the Ghosts of the Buddhist Tradition

(p.84) Chapter 4 The Queen Mother of the West and the Ghosts of the Buddhist Tradition
Weaving and Binding

Michael Como

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the role of continental conceptions of spirit pacification in shaping the founding legend of Japanese Buddhism. It argues that because the establishment of the Buddhist tradition was deeply rooted in political violence and the subsequent need to propitiate hostile spirits, the tradition encountered a recurring “Atsumori effect,” in which the gods of the vanquished claim the attention of the victors. Reading the founding legend of Japanese Buddhism in this light, the text examines the role of the vanquished Mononobe kinship group in the construction of the emerging Japanese Buddhist tradition. Focusing on the cultic practices of the Mononobe and their affiliated kinship groups, the chapter details a pervasive pattern of rites of spirit pacification based upon the Chinese cults of the Queen Mother of the West and the Weaver Maiden and the Cowherd.

Keywords:   spirit pacification, Japanese Buddhism, Buddhist tradition, Mononobe kinship group, Chinese cults, Weaver Maiden, Cowherd

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