Buried Buddhism and Hidden Communities: A Study of Sutra Mounds—Kyōzuka


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Early Career Research Fellowships in Buddhist Studies


East Asian Languages and Cultures


This research project is an analysis of sutra mounds—kyōzuka—in Japan from the eleventh to the thirteenth century, the period during which this practice was most widespread. It focuses on the inscribed materials they at times contain and their material apparatuses, and it unearths the networks of lay sponsors and monastic participants that were involved in their creation and dedication. When these were produced, not all mounds contained written records in the form of inscribed objects or written texts put into metal cylinders or stoneware pots and vases, though the mounds often explain the motivations behind the undertaking of a certain burial of sutras and are dedicatory or votive in nature. The study of these texts gives insight into the hopes and anxieties of the people who produced them.