The Other Side of Zen: A Social History of Soto Zen Buddhism in Tokugawa Japan

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Overview

"The Other Side of Zen brings to light the vital but little studied social dimension of early modern Japanese Zen. Drawing on a wealth of hitherto untapped sources, Williams offers insightful analyses of how Soto Zen temples won and maintained broad lay support by providing rites for healing and protection in this world and salvation in the next. This fascinating study will be essential reading for students and scholars of Buddhism and Japanese religion and has much to offer anyone interested in the social roles of religion."--Jacqueline Stone, Princeton University

"This is the first significant contribution in a Western language on Soto Zen of this period. The author's approach is innovative. His use of recently discovered sources, well synthesized, has helped the author succeed in demythologizing the Soto tradition. The book reflects the best of Japanese scholarship."--Michel Mohr, independent scholar

"This book--well argued, well documented and filled with fascinating material--demonstrates the strengths of a social history approach to the study of Buddhist life and contributes to the field of Zen studies in a dramatic way."--Charles Hallisey, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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Editorial Reviews

Philosophy East & West
The Other Side of Zen offers a rich, ground-breaking contribution to the history of the Soto Zen sect and of Tokugawa Japan.
— Cristina Rocha
Monumenta Nipponica - David E. Riggs
This book is required reading for any student of Zen Buddhism or Japanese religion and will remain a standard reference for years to come.
Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies - William M. Bodiford
[This book] presents so much new information in such an insightful and accessible manner. By doing so, The Other Side of Zen helps us to begin to realize just how much we do not know and do not understand. Williams shows us several previously unexplored landscapes and gives us a tour of a few of their notable features. One can only hope that the terra incognito he reveals will attract future scholars to map in more detail its ways and byways.
Philosophy East & West - Cristina Rocha
The Other Side of Zen offers a rich, ground-breaking contribution to the history of the Soto Zen sect and of Tokugawa Japan.
From the Publisher

"This book is required reading for any student of Zen Buddhism or Japanese religion and will remain a standard reference for years to come."--David E. Riggs, Monumenta Nipponica

"[This book] presents so much new information in such an insightful and accessible manner. By doing so, The Other Side of Zen helps us to begin to realize just how much we do not know and do not understand. Williams shows us several previously unexplored landscapes and gives us a tour of a few of their notable features. One can only hope that the terra incognito he reveals will attract future scholars to map in more detail its ways and byways."--William M. Bodiford, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies

"The Other Side of Zen offers a rich, ground-breaking contribution to the history of the Soto Zen sect and of Tokugawa Japan."--Cristina Rocha, Philosophy East & West

Monumenta Nipponica
This book is required reading for any student of Zen Buddhism or Japanese religion and will remain a standard reference for years to come.
— David E. Riggs
Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies
[This book] presents so much new information in such an insightful and accessible manner. By doing so, The Other Side of Zen helps us to begin to realize just how much we do not know and do not understand. Williams shows us several previously unexplored landscapes and gives us a tour of a few of their notable features. One can only hope that the terra incognito he reveals will attract future scholars to map in more detail its ways and byways.
— William M. Bodiford
Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies
[This book] presents so much new information in such an insightful and accessible manner. By doing so, The Other Side of Zen helps us to begin to realize just how much we do not know and do not understand. Williams shows us several previously unexplored landscapes and gives us a tour of a few of their notable features. One can only hope that the terra incognito he reveals will attract future scholars to map in more detail its ways and byways.
— William M. Bodiford
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691144290
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 10/12/2009
  • Series: Buddhisms: A Princeton University Press Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Duncan Ryuken Williams is Assistant Professor of East Asian Buddhism and Culture at the University of California, Irvine.

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Table of Contents

1 Toward a social history of Soto Zen 1
2 Registering the family, memorializing the ancestors : the Zen temple and the parishioner household 13
3 Funerary Zen : managing the dead in the world beyond 38
4 The cult of Doryo Daigongen : Daiyuzan and Soto Zen prayer temples 59
5 Medicine and faith healing in the Soto Zen tradition 86
Conclusion : the other side of Zen 117
App. A Nyonin Jobutsu Ketsubonkyo Engi (the origins of the blood pool hell sutra for women's salvation) 125
App. B Shinsen Gedoku Manbyoen Fukuyo No Koto (how to prepare and take the wizard mountain "poison-dispelling" pill that cures all illnesses) 129
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Recipe

"The Other Side of Zen brings to light the vital but little studied social dimension of early modern Japanese Zen. Drawing on a wealth of hitherto untapped sources, Williams offers insightful analyses of how Soto Zen temples won and maintained broad lay support by providing rites for healing and protection in this world and salvation in the next. This fascinating study will be essential reading for students and scholars of Buddhism and Japanese religion and has much to offer anyone interested in the social roles of religion."—Jacqueline Stone, Princeton University

"This is the first significant contribution in a Western language on Soto Zen of this period. The author's approach is innovative. His use of recently discovered sources, well synthesized, has helped the author succeed in demythologizing the Soto tradition. The book reflects the best of Japanese scholarship."—Michel Mohr, independent scholar

"This book—well argued, well documented and filled with fascinating material—demonstrates the strengths of a social history approach to the study of Buddhist life and contributes to the field of Zen studies in a dramatic way."—Charles Hallisey, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Read More Show Less

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