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Buddhas and Kami in Japan: Honji Suijaku as a Combinatory by Mark Teeuwen, Fabio Rambelli

By Mark Teeuwen, Fabio Rambelli

This quantity deals a multidisciplinary method of the combinatory culture that ruled premodern and early smooth eastern faith, often called honji suijaku (originals and their traces). It questions acquired, simplified money owed of the interactions among Shinto and jap Buddhism, and offers a extra dynamic and variegated spiritual global, one within which the deities' Buddhist originals and native lines didn't represent one-to-one institutions, yet advanced combos of a number of deities in keeping with semiotic operations, doctrines, myths, and legends. The book's essays, all in line with particular case reports, speak about the honji suijaku paradigm from a few various views, continually integrating ancient and doctrinal research with interpretive insights.

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While there is no denying the progression in this long and slow process, later research into medieval kami cults has revealed that the emergence of the honji suijaku paradigm as described by Tsuji by no means erased the tension between kami and Buddhism. Not all kami had become Buddhist; and even those that had seemingly been absorbed into Buddhism retained typical kami features, which in Tsuji’s scheme belong to earlier phases of the amalgamation process. As we shall see below, also in the medieval period some kami, and even whole categories of kami, remained dangerously irascible and unpredictable, or even violently anti-Buddhist.

However, it should be emphasised that this modified form of combinatory religiosity was also the product of Buddhist intellectuals. Nonetheless, we must ask ourselves why Buddhist scholar-monks would develop doctrines denying the superiority of their own divinities. A possible explanation is the desire to push the medieval religious discourse to its own limits by investigating the original condition before the appearance of the first Buddha. Another possible rationale has more immediate sociological implications.

In these rituals, Amaterasu appeared in true honji suijaku fashion as a supreme divine being with many faces. g. the sokui kanjø or “enthronement initiation,” performed by the emperor while ascending the throne. 105 Esoteric transmissions of this ritual were treasured as the deepest secrets of many temple lineages, and in this way, the ritual had its own life quite apart from actual imperial practice. 106 In rituals of this kind, Amaterasu appeared both 103 Nakatomi harae kunge, in ST vol. Nakatomi Harae Ch¨shaku, p.

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