Departmental Bulletin Paper Negotiations Between the Kami and Buddha Realms : The Establishment of Shrine-Temples in the Eighth Century

1pp.39 - 45 , 2016-03Kyushu University, School of Letters, Graduate School of Humanities, Faculty of Humanities
Buddhist temples began to be constructed adjacent to shrines in the early eighth century for the purpose of reading sutras and conducting other Buddhist rites for the soteriological benefit of the kami 神. These shrine-temples (jingūji 神宮寺) are often described in scholarship as part of the Buddhist subjugation of the kami. This paper argues that Buddhist rites provided another modality of ritual propitiation that supplemented established kami rituals, and that the interactions between the kami and Buddha realms can more helpfully be described as negotiated. Drawing on Actor- Network Theory, this paper will attempt to account for the ontological status and agency of kami as they are depicted in the founding legends (engi 縁起) of four eighth-century shrine-temples.

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