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Ritualized WritingBuddhist Practice and Scriptural Cultures in Ancient Japan$
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Bryan D. Lowe

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824859404

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824859404.001.0001

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Instituting Transcription

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(p.106) 4 Instituting Transcription
Ritualized Writing

Bryan D. Lowe

University of Hawai'i Press

Chapter four stresses the importance of institutions in enabling the reproduction of large numbers of Buddhist texts. It surveys the types of institutions that existed in ancient Japan and argues for the close connection between bureaucracy and ritual practice. It begins with an overview of the process of sutra copying. It then turns to continental precedent before looking at some of the earliest sutra copying projects in Japan and the institutions that sponsored them. It provides a detailed institutional history of a scriptorium at Tōdaiji closely connected to Queen Consort Kōmyōshi but also uncovers numerous other scriptoria managed by a variety of individuals in the capital and provinces, some of relatively small scale. It also addresses projects known as “private copying” in documents at the Tōdaiji scriptorium to show how individuals could use personal connections to utilize state institutions for their own purposes.

Keywords:   scriptoria, Tōdaiji, Shōsōin, Dunhuang, aristocratic Buddhism, institutional history, manuscript production, bureaucracy, private copying, Kōmyōshi

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