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Experimental BuddhismInnovation and Activism in Contemporary Japan$
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John K. Nelson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838331

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838331.001.0001

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Japanese Versions of Buddhism

Japanese Versions of Buddhism

(p.28) 2 Japanese Versions of Buddhism
Experimental Buddhism

John K. Nelson

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter traces some of the religious and social history informing modern Buddhism in Japan before positioning it within contemporary circumstances. Readers may find that this chapter’s observations on the histories, practices, attitudes, and reputations of Buddhist priests in Japan may be somewhat subversive to idealized expectations of these individuals and their traditions. Even the noble ideas of Buddhism must, after all, be balanced with its all-too-human leaders and institutional manifestations. That said, this chapter touches upon only a few of the key “headlines” that have shaped this tradition into its contemporary forms, showing how religious leaders attempt to moderate their traditions and institutions in order to navigate oftentimes dramatic social change and the realpolitik of their times.

Keywords:   modern Buddhism, Buddhist religious history, Buddhist social history, Buddhist priests, social change, Buddhist traditions, Buddhist institutions, contemporary Buddhism

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