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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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Alternatives and Innovations in Buddhist Religious Practice

Alternatives and Innovations in Buddhist Religious Practice

(p.141) 5 Alternatives and Innovations in Buddhist Religious Practice
Experimental Buddhism

John K. Nelson

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter explores a number of examples of innovation within religious traditions that, at first glance, indicate there have been benefits resulting from technological innovations, greater choice, and a restructuring of the economy. For one thing, a religious institution can reach a far greater audience online if they are able to find that elusive combination of appeal, product placement, and marketing that communicates to highly selective consumers. Some Buddhist temples and Shintō shrines have gone beyond the usual information about history and organization to provide actual services online: prayers, memorial rituals, the sale of amulets, and so on. Thus the chapter explores five areas where entrepreneurial creativity has drawn upon Buddhist traditions: new interment and commemorative practices, household altars for ancestral spirits, the memorialization of pets, temples hosting performances of all types and genres, and other outreach efforts to attract more patrons to temple services.

Keywords:   religious traditions, technological innovations, restructured economy, entrepreneurial creativity, late modernity

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