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Protectors and PredatorsGods of Medieval Japan, Volume 2$
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Bernard Faure

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824839314

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824839314.001.0001

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Matricial Gods

Matricial Gods


(p.299) 8 Matricial Gods
Protectors and Predators

Bernard Faure

University of Hawai'i Press

This discussion of the god Matarajin combines both a diachronic or genealogical approach with a synchronic one. Through the former, I follow the trajectory leading from the Indian god Mahākāla, leader of the vampire-like ḍākinīs, to the Japanese Matarajin, protector of nenbutsu practice in Tendai monasteries and patron of the performing arts; through the latter, I examine Matarajin’s symbolic network, keying on the figures of Sekizan Myōjin and Shinra Myōjin, protectors of two rival branches of Tendai.

Keywords:   Matarajin, Śiva-Mahākāla, performing arts, Sekizan Myōjin, Shinra Myōjin, Tendai Buddhism, Mt. Hiei, Miidera, epidemics

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