Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Buddhism and the Transformation of Old Age in Medieval Japan$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Edward R. Drott

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824851507

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824851507.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 27 October 2021

From Outcast to Saint

From Outcast to Saint

Overcoming Pollution in an Age of Decline

(p.53) Chapter Four From Outcast to Saint
Buddhism and the Transformation of Old Age in Medieval Japan

Edward R. Drott

University of Hawai'i Press

Chapter Four examines how late-Heian groups utilized the aged body as a symbolic medium through which to challenge the categories of center/margin and purity/pollution. It focuses on didactic tales (setsuwa) that used immanentist Buddhist logic to confront mappō—the “evil age of five defilements (gojoku)—depicting aged saints (shōnin) able to achieve salvation not by abandoning their polluted bodies, but through them. Legends depicting Okina oshō, Zōga shōnin, and the outcast okina preacher purported to have delivered the inaugural sermon at the Tokujōju-in, presented the aged body as a locus of miraculous inversions in which defiled effluvia were transformed into Buddhist relics or provide an opportunity for a saint to distance himself from the world of elite Buddhist institutions or the court, now coded as morally corrupt. These legends were not derived from the Buddhist canon or “official” sources, but from the experiences of people long marginalized, including lower-ranking nobles of the provincial governor class or unofficial beggar priests.

Keywords:   Explanatory tales (setsuwa), saints (shōnin), mappō, “the evil age of five defilements (gojoku), Okina oshō, Zōga shōnin, outcast preacher of Tokujōju-in

Hawaii Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.