Asceticism, Visions, and Dreams in Early Medieval Japan


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowships in Buddhist Studies


Using literary, documentary, and art historical evidence from the 11th through 14th centuries Japan, I will argue that Buddhist ascetic practice was believed to generate revelatory dreams and visions. Irrespective of whether such visionary events actually happened, a plethora of accounts across a diverse range of genres and media make the claim that dreams and visions led to the creation of new texts, icons, practices, ecclesiastic lineages, and cultic sites. My dissertation will investigate accounts of such visionary events and the practices aimed at producing them in order to reevaluate the roles of ascetics and ascetic practices within medieval Japanese society understood a single social system.