Women Living Zen: Japanese Soto Buddhist Nuns

Paperback | April 15, 2012

byPaula Kane Robinson Arai

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In this study, based on both historical evidence and ethnographic data, Paula Arai shows that nuns were central agents in the foundation of Buddhism in Japan in the sixth century. They were active participants in the Soto Zen sect, and have continued to contribute to the advancement of thesect to the present day. Drawing on her fieldwork among the Soto nuns, Arai demonstrates that the lives of many of these women embody classical Buddhist ideals. They have chosen to lead a strictly disciplined monastic life over against successful careers and the unconstrained contemporary secular lifestyle. In this, andother respects, they can be shown to stand in stark contrast to their male counterparts.

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In this study, based on both historical evidence and ethnographic data, Paula Arai shows that nuns were central agents in the foundation of Buddhism in Japan in the sixth century. They were active participants in the Soto Zen sect, and have continued to contribute to the advancement of thesect to the present day. Drawing on her fieldwo...

Paula Kane Robinson is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and East Asian Studies at Vanderbilt University.

other books by Paula Kane Robinson Arai

Format:PaperbackDimensions:268 pages, 6.1 × 9.09 × 0.71 inPublished:April 15, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199928681

ISBN - 13:9780199928682

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsTransliteration GuidePrologue1. IntroductionScholarly ContextsTheoretical ConsiderationsMethodological Considerations2. Historical BackgroundPioneering MonasticsDogen and WomenTokugawa EncroachmentsMeiji Reclamations3. Twentieth-Century LeadershipFirst Generation: Rapid Ascent Through EducationSecond Generation: Stategists of EgalitarianismThird Generation: Zen Master of a New Tradition4. The Monastic Practices of Zen NunsNuns' Vision of Monastic LifeDaily Life in a Monastery of Zen NunsDivisions within the MonasteryCeremonial Rituals and ActivitiesEducational Curriculum and DegreesThe Aesthetics of Discipline5. Motivations, Commitments, and Self-PerceptionsChanging Life Patterns of Twentieth-Century ZenBuddhist Practice: Meaning and ActionNuns' Views on Monastic Life6. Conclusion: Innovators for the Sake of TraditionPreservers and Creators of Buddhist TraditionBearers and Transmitters of Traditional Japanese CultureNotesAppendix A: QuestionnaireAppendix B: Glossry of Japanese TermsBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This is an anthropological study, carried out with love, care, and attention to detail...By the end of the journey, readers will find themselves moved, their humanity reassured and refreshed." --Journal of Asian Studies