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9780231112871

The Weaving of Mantra

Abé, Ryûichi; Ab&#233, Ry&#251ichi

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9780231112871: The Weaving of Mantra

The great Buddhist priest Kûkai (774-835) is credited with the introduction and establishment of tantric -or esoteric -Buddhism in early ninth-century Japan. In Ryûichi Abé examines this important religious figure -neglected in modern academic literature -and his profound influence on Japanese culture. Offering a radically new approach to the study of early religious history -combining historical research, discourse analysis, literary criticism, and semiology -Abé contends that the importance of Kûkai´s transmission of esoteric Buddhism to Japan lay not in the foundation of a new sect but in his creation of a general theory of language grounded in the ritual speech of mantra. embeds Kûkai within the fabric of political and social life in ninth-century Japan and explains how esoteric Buddhism played a crucial role in many societal changes in Japan -from the growth of monasteries into major feudal powers to the formation of the native phonetic alphabet, kana. As Abé illustrates, Kûkai´s writings and the new type of discourse they spawned also marked Japan´s transition from the ancient order to the medieval world, replacing Confucianism as the ideology of the state. Abé begins by placing Kûkai´s life in the historical context of medieval Japan and the Ritsuryo state, then explores his interaction with the Nara Buddhist intelligentsia, which was seminal to the introduction of esoteric Buddhism. The author discusses Kûkai´s magnum opus, () and introduces a number of Japanese and Chinese primary-source texts previously unknown by Western-language scholars. Instead of tracing Kûkai´s thought through literal readings, explores the rhetorical strategies Kûkai employed in his works, shedding valuable light on what his texts meant to his readers and what his goals were in creating a discourse that ultimately transformed Japanese culture.

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Product Description:

Ryûichi Abé presents the most thorough and innovative study to date on the Buddhist figure Kûkai (774 - 835) -- one that constitutes a radically different approach to the research on early Japanese religious history. Kûkai is generally credited with the formal establishment of tantric -- or esoteric -- Buddhism in Japan and as the founder of the Shingon school of Buddhism. Abé contends that the importance of Kûkai's transmission of esoteric Buddhism to Japan lay not in the foundation of a new sect but in his creation of a general theory of language grounded in the ritual speech of mantra.

About the Author:

Ryûichi Abé is Kao Associate Professor of Japanese Religious Studies in the Departments of Religion and East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University. He is the coauthor of Great Fool: Zen Master Ryôkan -- Poems, Letters, and Other Writings, and has been a recipient of the Philip and Ruth Hettleman Award for distinguished teaching.

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Abé, Ryûichi; Ab&#233, Ry&#251ichi Author
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ISBN 10: 0231112874 ISBN 13: 9780231112871
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Book Description Columbia University Press, 2000. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: This is a groundbreaking book of tremendous significance for the study of Japanese Buddhism. a resounding success. Not only will students of Kukai find ample riches to mine in this impressive magnum opus; it may serve also to stimulate important discussions in the fields of Japanese literary, religious, and political history. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0231112874

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