Mark Rowe - Assistant Professor of Department of Religious Studies at McMaster University
This lecture will explore the question of where one looks for Buddhism in contemporary Japan. How do sects and temples actually operate? What is the relationship between institutional forms (training monasteries, sectarian research centres, universities, and sect administration) and the local temple manifestations of Buddhism? How do sectarian ideals (teachings, doctrine) actually play out in contemporary Japanese Buddhist organizations? In this paper I will limit my exploration of these issues to tensions over ideas of “edification” or “propagation” (kyōka 教化) between sect intellectuals and researchers on the one hand and temple priests on the other. By exploring how the same term is taken up at different sites within the larger organization, I hope to get a better sense of how different groups navigate institutional relationships. In this paper, I am less interested in defining kyōka than I am in charting how priests and sectarian researchers are talking about it and how that defining takes place. I will look at the issue of kyōka in sectarian surveys, in a select number of publications aimed at priests, in conversations with two priests, and finally in a comedic film.