Japanese Rinzai Zen Buddhism

Myōshinji, a living religion

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Author: Jørn Borup
Zen Buddhist ideas and practices in many ways are unique within the study of religion, and artists, poets and Buddhists practitioners worldwide have found inspiration from this tradition. Until recent years, representations of Zen Buddhism have focussed almost entirely on philosophical, historical or “spiritual” aspects. This book investigates the contemporary living reality of the largest Japanese Rinzai Zen Buddhist group, Myōshinji. Drawing on textual studies and ethnographic fieldwork, Jørn Borup analyses how its practitioners use and understand their religion, how they practice their religiosity and how different kinds of Zen Buddhists (monks, nuns, priest, lay people) interact and define themselves within the religious organization. Japanese Rinzai Zen Buddhism portrays a living Zen Buddhism being both uniquely interesting and interestingly typical for common Buddhist and Japanese religiosity.

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Jørn Borup (b. 1966) Ph.D. (2002) and M.A. in The Study of Religion and Japanese, is assistant professor at Aarhus University, Denmark. He has published on Buddhism in Japan and Denmark, mainly in Danish.
Borup's engaged ethnographic study breathes life into ideals and critically draws the reader back to a living religion, raising questions that will fundamentally enrich one's quest for satori with a compendium of descriptions of socio-historical, practical and embodied actualities, all the while guiding the reader with conceptual notions and Japanese terminology that are certain to be useful to any further academic study - A. Sevilla, Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies, 2008.

The strengths of Borup’s study is that it offers a clear and detailed presentation of the monastic system
and practices—including education, rituals, festivals, and ordination—that constitute the center of Rinzai Zen religious life.
- George A. Keyworth, Religious Studies Review, 2009

Jørn Borup's detailed study of the Rinzai denomination of Buddhism gives us the opportunity to see Temple Buddhism as a multidimensional phenomenon in contemporary Japan and should be read by anyone with an interest in modern or contemporary Japanese Buddhism. - Stephen G. Covell, The Journal of Japanese Studies, 2010.
Historians of religoin, anthropologists, japanologists, teachers, students and all those interested in Buddhism, Japan and religion.