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When Tengu TalkHirata Atsutane’s Ethnography of the Other World$
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Wilburn Hansen

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832094

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832094.001.0001

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The Critique of Buddhism and Defense of Native Religion

The Critique of Buddhism and Defense of Native Religion

(p.140) Chapter 5 The Critique of Buddhism and Defense of Native Religion
When Tengu Talk

Wilburn Hansen

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter details Atsutane and Torakichi’s attitudes toward Buddhism. It starts by showing Atsutane’s disdain for the Buddhist religion and his genetic and environmentally deterministic beliefs about Japanese superiority to all other cultures and peoples of the world. This is followed by the description of a religious sanjin whose abilities and practices were defined in comparison and contrast with the abilities and practices of Buddhist heroes. However, the sanjin described by Torakichi and recorded by Atsutane was in part defined by supernatural abilities similar to the traditional ones attributed to the Buddhist bodhisattva. This suggests that, as negative as Atsutane’s discourse on Buddhism was, he clearly relied on Buddhist models to create his sanjin culture hero and develop his own religious practices.

Keywords:   Buddhism, Japanese superiority, sanjin, Buddhist heroes, Buddhist bodhisattva, Buddhist models

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