- Doctoral Candidate
- Duke University
My dissertation examines modern Japanese Rinzai Zen reforms that contributed to the large-scale opening of Zen practices to non-clerics, which was essential to Zen's worldwide spread. I examine the historical shift between 1868 and 1945, during which dozens of lay Zen groups cropped up throughout Japan. After introducing the contours of this era's "Zen boom," I focus on three contrasting case studies of lay Rinzai organizations, each of which illustrates a distinct aspect of the movement: Kozengokokukai, Shakamunikai, and the temple Engakuji's Kojirin. Through these groups' stories, I show how modern reforms moved Rinzai Zen out of the temple, popularized practices including koan training, and contributed to Zen’s transformation into Japan's most influential religious export.