Faith, Devotion, and Doctrinal Knowledge

Interpretative Strategies in Shingon Liturgical Exegesis

In: Journal of Religion in Japan
Matthew Hayes University of California USA Los Angeles

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The genre of kōshiki 講式 (ceremonial lectures) has, over the last decade, gained significant traction in the fields of Buddhist studies and Japanese religions, but its commentarial sub-genre remains largely unexplored. While kōshiki offer fertile ground for understanding devotional practices across nearly all Buddhist schools in Japan, commentaries reveal how Buddhists understood their liturgical content and, more narrowly, how this content was consumed and re-purposed through intellectual endeavor. This article contributes to this understudied area in two ways. First, it demonstrates how the medieval Shingon cleric Gahō 我寶 (1239–1317) wielded the Shari kuyō shiki 舎利供養式, a ceremonial lecture written by Kakuban 覺鑁 (1095–1143), as a textual and performative embodiment of faith and devotion. Second, it suggests that his commentary gave shape to expressions of these very themes in various intellectual, performative, and editorial forums in later periods at the Kyoto temple Chishakuin 智積院.

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