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Secrecy's PowerCovert Shin Buddhists in Japan and Contradictions of Concealment$
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Clark Chilson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838393

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838393.001.0001

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Secrecy Creates Dilemmas

Secrecy Creates Dilemmas

Transmitting Secrets in and beyond Urahōmon

Chapter:
(p.125) 4. Secrecy Creates Dilemmas
Source:
Secrecy's Power
Author(s):

Clark Chilson

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824838393.003.0004

This chapter examines how secrecy can cause dilemmas by focusing on the social organization of Urahōmon. More specifically, it considers an internal dilemma for shinjingyōja as well as members of other covert religions who want to hide their existence from the public yet preserve their religion by transmitting it to others. The dilemma is this: to keep a secret, it must not be told, but if it is not told, it will die with the last person who knows it. The chapter shows that Urahōmon handles this dilemma by confining it to the zenchishiki and giving him ultimate authority over to whom secrets are revealed. It also describes how zenchishiki today are struggling to find successors and new members for Urahōmon as its membership continues to decline. It highlights the uncertainty over how to maintain traditional practice for concealment while keeping the religion from becoming extinct.

Keywords:   secrecy, dilemmas, Urahōmon, shinjingyōja, covert religions, zenchishiki, secrets, concealment

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