Project

The Written Samgha: Zen, Mindfulness, and the Communities Formed through Japanese Buddhist Books

Program

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

Abstract

While Buddhism has historically been most successfully propagated by large institutions, bolstered by state endorsement and sustained by networks of monastic administration, Buddhists in contemporary Japan are discovering the advantages of grassroots organizing and promoting Buddhism in secular contexts. This project examines how Buddhism is spreading outside of traditional institutions, primarily through Buddhist books. This is achieved through participant observation in relevant seminars, meetings, and online forums, as well as through close readings of the publications themselves. This project examines Buddhist books and the communities that emerge around them in order to understand Japan's shifting religious landscape as well as its place in transnational Buddhist exchange