The lecture for next month's KASG meeting will be by Jessica Starling (PhD candidate at the University of Virginia and Research Scholar at Otani University, Kyoto) who will be presenting "A Family of Clerics: The position of temple wives and strategies of succession in the Jōdo Shinshū Ōtani-ha" (see abstract below). Please note that we have moved to the the Doshisha University Imadegawa Campus, where the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies is now located. The lecture will be from 18:30-20:30 on Monday 9th November in Room 213 of the Fusōkan （扶桑館）(see below for access info). Apologies for cross-posting.
"A Family of Clerics: The position of temple wives and
strategies of succession in the Jōdo Shinshū Ōtani-ha"
Even though parish temples are generally transmitted from the resident priest (jūshoku) to his son in all of the Buddhist schools in Japan today, the role of temple families and the strategies of temple succession have been almost completely neglected by scholarship on Japanese Buddhism. The Jōdo Shinshū is unique among Japanese Buddhist schools in that it has a long history of an openly married clergy and inherited temple leadership, and thus offers special resources for reconciling the conflicting impulses we see in Japan today of monastic tradition and temple inheritance. This presentation will introduce some of the problems and themes related to the integration of family and priesthood that have emerged from my dissertation fieldwork on contemporary temple wives in the Jōdo Shinshū.
First I will recount some of the voices from the official consideration of temple wives (bōmori) in the Jōdo Shinshū Ōtani-ha since the Meiji period, exploring the problems and promises of viewing this position as that of a religious professional. Changes in the normative definition of the positions of temple priests and their wives have been spurred largely by practical concerns, such as maintaining the continuous operation of parish temples during wartime and accommodating changing family structures among Shinshū clerics, as well as by a grass roots gender equality movement among women within the sect.
If time permits, I will also explore the strategies of temple succession within Jōdo Shinshū families, whose tradition provides religious resources for rationalizing clerical inheritance not found in other Buddhist sects. As much as possible I will include the narratives of individuals who are born into the situation of being the temple’s successor, bringing to light the internal logic of their actions as they chose among the options available to them.
Sponsored by the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies.
For information on access see:
Please refrain from bringing any food or drinks into the meeting room.
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