Mythology

Download Weaving and Binding: Immigrant Gods and Female Immortals in by Michael Como PDF

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By Michael Como

One of the most fun advancements within the research of eastern faith during the last twenty years has been the invention of tens of millions of formality vessels, implements, and scape-goat dolls (hitogata) from the Nara (710-784) and early Heian (794-1185) sessions. simply because inscriptions on a few of the goods are truly derived from chinese language rites of spirit pacification, it really is now obtrusive that past scholarship has mischaracterized the position of Buddhism in early jap faith. "Weaving and Binding" makes a compelling argument that either the japanese royal process and the japanese Buddhist culture owe a lot to continental rituals based at the manipulation of yin and yang, animal sacrifice, and spirit quelling. construction on those fresh archaeological discoveries, Michael Como charts an epochal transformation within the spiritual tradition of the japanese islands, tracing the transmission and improvement of basic paradigms of spiritual perform to immigrant lineages and deities from the Korean peninsula. as well as archaeological fabrics, Como makes huge use of quite a lot of textual assets from throughout Asia, together with court docket chronicles, poetry collections, gazetteers, temple documents, and divinatory texts. As he investigates the impact of myths, legends, and rites of the traditional chinese language competition calendar on non secular perform around the jap islands, Como indicates how the facility of immigrant lineages to propitiate adverse deities ended in the construction of intricate networks of temple-shrine complexes that formed later sectarian Shinto in addition to well known understandings of the connection among the Buddhas and the gods of Japan. for far of the publication, this method is tested via rites and legends from the chinese language calendar that have been regarding weaving, sericulture, and medication - applied sciences that to a wide measure have been managed via lineages with roots within the Korean peninsula and that claimed woman deities and weaving maidens as founding ancestors.

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Additional resources for Weaving and Binding: Immigrant Gods and Female Immortals in Ancient Japan

Example text

In the years following the move to Heian, Hata deities and Hata monks played a pivotal role in shaping the still-developing royal cult, dominating both the court’s cultic agenda as well as its hierarchy of shrines. Thus the flourishing shrines and temples of the Heian capital may have been the product not so much of a triumphalist court’s self-confidence, but rather of the court’s keenly felt fear and weakness in the face of gods and rivals from across the sea. The grand network of temple-shrine complexes of the 24 Weaving and Binding Heian period was both figuratively and literally rooted in ground prepared by the Hata.

The capstone of this process came in 749, when the god Hachiman, yet another Chikuzen deity with close links to the Hata and other immigrant lineages, declared through an oracle that he wished to be brought to the capital to be the guardian deity of Tòdaiji, the ritual and administrative center of the kokubunji network. Shortly thereafter, the god was installed at the temple at the head of a procession of some 5,000 monks. 32 All of this suggests two preliminary conclusions regarding the development of the royal cult.

33 At the heart of Saichò’s message was the belief that the prince had in fact been the incarnation of the Chinese monk Hui-ssu, the teacher of the famed T’ien-t’ai patriarch Chih-i. 34 This claim to a special link with the prince was aggressively promoted even in China by Saichò’s ecclesial descendants. On several occasions visiting Tendai monks gave their Chinese hosts copies of a commentary of the Lotus Sutra purportedly written by Shòtoku. Lest anyone fail to get the point, the inscription on the top of one said: “This is a work of Prince Kamitsumiya of Japan.

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