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Hokkeji and the Reemergence of Female Monastic Orders in Premodern Japan$
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Lori R. Meeks

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833947

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833947.001.0001

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Envisioning Nuns

Envisioning Nuns

Views from the Male Monastic Order

(p.91) 3 Envisioning Nuns
Hokkeji and the Reemergence of Female Monastic Orders in Premodern Japan

Lori Meeks

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines how the monastic order viewed women and the problems surrounding their ordination during the years preceding Eison's decision to create an ordination platform for women at Hokkeji in the 1240s. In his Shōbōgenzō, Zen master Dōgen speaks for his concern about the authenticity of Japanese Buddhism. According to Dōgen, that many Japanese priests are ignorant of true Buddhism is evident from the fact that they are overzealous in their service of high-ranking female patrons, a situation that “true” followers of the Buddha should recognize as humiliating. His writings further reveal two anxieties which can also be found in contemporaneous monastic texts: concerns about the propriety of close relationships between the sangha and rulers of state, and uncertainties regarding the authenticity of Japanese nuns.

Keywords:   monastic order, Shōbōgenzō, Dōgen, Japanese Buddhism, Japanese priests, Japanese nuns

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