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Death and the Afterlife in Japanese Buddhism$
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Jacqueline I. Stone and Mariko Namba Walter

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832049

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832049.001.0001

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The Price of Naming the Dead

The Price of Naming the Dead

Posthumous Precept Names and Critiques of Contemporary Japanese Buddhism

Chapter:
(p.293) 8 The Price of Naming the Dead
Source:
Death and the Afterlife in Japanese Buddhism
Author(s):

Stephen G. Covell

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824832049.003.0009

This chapter explains that urbanization, land shortages, displacement of the extended by nuclear families, and other factors have combined to challenge the Buddhist mortuary system. Specifically, it focuses on issues surrounding the posthumous precept name (kaimyo) or dharma name (homyo). Donations to the temple for a posthumous name often constitute the single largest funerary expense and have become something of a lightning rod for controversy over traditional Buddhist funerals. Most people no longer understand what precept names are for, and many now reject the idea that the postmortem well-being of the deceased depends on a priest's ritual performance. The chapter also notes a shift in patterns of religious affiliation, from the continuing ties of the danka-temple relationship toward a one-time-only “fee for service” model.

Keywords:   precept name, kaimyo, dharma name, homyo, Buddist funerals, ritual performance, danka–temple relationship

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