Brian O. Ruppert (Professor, University of Illinois, Visiting Researcher, Nichibunken) will present his paper, "Appointment Records, Ritual, and Status: Reexamining Early Medieval Buddhism Through Reading Bunin" at KCJS.
Sponsored by the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies
For information on access:
You may bring only bottled drinks (with caps), no food.
In this study, I analyze genres of writing of the 10th to 16th centuries that depict or comment on conferral of temple positions in order to identify the rites culminating in the most clerical appointments and to explore their related yet varied contexts. These genres include, first and foremost, governmental and temple depictions of monks’ activities and clerical advancement, that is, works of what we might call the genre of “administrative appointments” (bunin). I argue that “Heian Buddhism,” that world of the royal court teeming with esoteric Buddhist practice depicted by influential scholars such as Hayami Tasuku, did not actually exist until the end of the Heian era (794-1185). The Buddhist rites promoted and elaborated by the royal court of the Heian era were typically venerative in character accomplished through modes of ritual offering (kuyo, ku) and included extensive giving (fuse) to clerics of major Buddhist temples. Indeed, these venerative rites included, most saliently among regular ceremonies, assemblies (e, ko) and sutra recitations (dokyo) associated generally with Mahayana Buddhism.
Examination of appointment works outlining appointments of monks to clerical position within the official Sogo hierarchy and related monastic posts make it clear that the Tendai lineages, despite having an active esoteric component, received the vast majority of their appointments in the Heian era for service (ro) at assemblies and as rewards for venerative rites at royal progresses. Nara lineages received theirs, almost invariably, for assemblies. And the esoteric Shingon lineages received service appointments only to the extent they could forge an ongoing presence at the great temple complex of Todaiji in Nara, and began to receive rewards notably for esoteric rites (shuho) only in the 11th century.
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