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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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Coda

Coda

Chapter:
(p.330) Coda
Source:
Protectors and Predators
Author(s):

Bernard Faure

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824839314.003.0010

This examination of the medieval Japanese pantheon leads to questioning one of its traditional organizing principles, namely, the two-tiered structure of the honji suijaku (essence-traces) theory. The habitual thesis is that this theory allowed Buddhists to assimilate the “autochthonous” Japanese pantheon. This model has been taken at face value by generations of scholars. However, it fails to explain the role played by most deities (buddhas and kami among others) in medieval Japanese religion. The brocade of medieval Japanese Buddhism was made of many more strands than the simplistic distinction between Buddhism and Shinto would suggest.

Keywords:   Syncretism, honji suijaku, buddhas and kami, fourth function, hybrids, animal deities

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