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Other Side of Zen (04 Edition)

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Synopses & Reviews

Please note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.

Publisher Comments:

Popular understanding of Zen Buddhism typically involves a stereotyped image of isolated individuals in meditation, contemplating nothingness. This book presents the "other side of Zen," by examining the movement's explosive growth during the Tokugawa period (1600-1867) in Japan and by shedding light on the broader Japanese religious landscape during the era. Using newly-discovered manuscripts, Duncan Ryuken Williams argues that the success of Soto Zen was due neither to what is most often associated with the sect, Zen meditation, nor to the teachings of its medieval founder Dogen, but rather to the social benefits it conveyed.

Zen Buddhism promised followers many tangible and attractive rewards, including the bestowal of such perquisites as healing, rain-making, and fire protection, as well as "funerary Zen" rites that assured salvation in the next world. Zen temples also provided for the orderly registration of the entire Japanese populace, as ordered by the Tokugawa government, which led to stable parish membership.

Williams investigates both the sect's distinctive religious and ritual practices and its nonsectarian participation in broader currents of Japanese life. While much previous work on the subject has consisted of passages on great medieval Zen masters and their thoughts strung together and then published as "the history of Zen," Williams' work is based on care ul examination of archival sources including temple logbooks, prayer and funerary manuals, death registries, miracle tales of popular Buddhist deities, secret initiation papers, villagers' diaries, and fund-raising donor lists.

Synopsis:

"The Other Side of Zen brings to light the vital but little studied social dimension of early modern Japanese Zen. Drawing on a wealth of hitherto untapped sources, Williams offers insightful analyses of how Soto Zen temples won and maintained broad lay support by providing rites for healing and protection in this world and salvation in the next. This fascinating study will be essential reading for students and scholars of Buddhism and Japanese religion and has much to offer anyone interested in the social roles of religion."--Jacqueline Stone, Princeton University

"This is the first significant contribution in a Western language on Soto Zen of this period. The author's approach is innovative. His use of recently discovered sources, well synthesized, has helped the author succeed in demythologizing the Soto tradition. The book reflects the best of Japanese scholarship."--Michel Mohr, independent scholar

"This book--well argued, well documented and filled with fascinating material--demonstrates the strengths of a social history approach to the study of Buddhist life and contributes to the field of Zen studies in a dramatic way."--Charles Hallisey, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Synopsis:

Popular understanding of Zen Buddhism typically involves a stereotyped image of isolated individuals in meditation, contemplating nothingness. This book presents the "other side of Zen," by examining the movement's explosive growth during the Tokugawa period (1600-1867) in Japan and by shedding light on the broader Japanese religious landscape during the era. Using newly-discovered manuscripts, Duncan Ryuken Williams argues that the success of Soto Zen was due neither to what is most often associated with the sect, Zen meditation, nor to the teachings of its medieval founder Dogen, but rather to the social benefits it conveyed.

Zen Buddhism promised followers many tangible and attractive rewards, including the bestowal of such perquisites as healing, rain-making, and fire protection, as well as "funerary Zen" rites that assured salvation in the next world. Zen temples also provided for the orderly registration of the entire Japanese populace, as ordered by the Tokugawa government, which led to stable parish membership.

Williams investigates both the sect's distinctive religious and ritual practices and its nonsectarian participation in broader currents of Japanese life. While much previous work on the subject has consisted of passages on great medieval Zen masters and their thoughts strung together and then published as "the history of Zen," Williams' work is based on care ul examination of archival sources including temple logbooks, prayer and funerary manuals, death registries, miracle tales of popular Buddhist deities, secret initiation papers, villagers' diaries, and fund-raising donor lists.

About the Author

Duncan Ryuken Williams is Assistant Professor of East Asian Buddhism and Culture at the University of California, Irvine.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691144290
Author:
Williams, Duncan Ryuken
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
Buddhism - Zen
Subject:
Buddhism -- History.
Subject:
Zen
Subject:
Zen buddhism
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
Asian and Asian American Studies
Subject:
Anthropology
Subject:
Religion Eastern-Zen Buddhism
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Buddhisms: A Princeton University Press Series
Publication Date:
July 2009
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
3 line illus. 7 halftones. 7 tables.
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 16 oz

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » World History » General
Humanities » Philosophy » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Buddhism » Zen Buddhism
Religion » Eastern Religions » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Japanese Philosophy
Religion » Eastern Religions » Philosophy General

Other Side of Zen (04 Edition) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 256 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691144290 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "The Other Side of Zen brings to light the vital but little studied social dimension of early modern Japanese Zen. Drawing on a wealth of hitherto untapped sources, Williams offers insightful analyses of how Soto Zen temples won and maintained broad lay support by providing rites for healing and protection in this world and salvation in the next. This fascinating study will be essential reading for students and scholars of Buddhism and Japanese religion and has much to offer anyone interested in the social roles of religion."--Jacqueline Stone, Princeton University

"This is the first significant contribution in a Western language on Soto Zen of this period. The author's approach is innovative. His use of recently discovered sources, well synthesized, has helped the author succeed in demythologizing the Soto tradition. The book reflects the best of Japanese scholarship."--Michel Mohr, independent scholar

"This book--well argued, well documented and filled with fascinating material--demonstrates the strengths of a social history approach to the study of Buddhist life and contributes to the field of Zen studies in a dramatic way."--Charles Hallisey, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

"Synopsis" by , Popular understanding of Zen Buddhism typically involves a stereotyped image of isolated individuals in meditation, contemplating nothingness. This book presents the "other side of Zen," by examining the movement's explosive growth during the Tokugawa period (1600-1867) in Japan and by shedding light on the broader Japanese religious landscape during the era. Using newly-discovered manuscripts, Duncan Ryuken Williams argues that the success of Soto Zen was due neither to what is most often associated with the sect, Zen meditation, nor to the teachings of its medieval founder Dogen, but rather to the social benefits it conveyed.

Zen Buddhism promised followers many tangible and attractive rewards, including the bestowal of such perquisites as healing, rain-making, and fire protection, as well as "funerary Zen" rites that assured salvation in the next world. Zen temples also provided for the orderly registration of the entire Japanese populace, as ordered by the Tokugawa government, which led to stable parish membership.

Williams investigates both the sect's distinctive religious and ritual practices and its nonsectarian participation in broader currents of Japanese life. While much previous work on the subject has consisted of passages on great medieval Zen masters and their thoughts strung together and then published as "the history of Zen," Williams' work is based on care ul examination of archival sources including temple logbooks, prayer and funerary manuals, death registries, miracle tales of popular Buddhist deities, secret initiation papers, villagers' diaries, and fund-raising donor lists.

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