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Grant number: FT-248295-16

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Bryan Daniel Lowe
Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN 37240-0001)

Beyond Founders, Sects, and the Nation-State: A Networks Approach to Buddhism in Ancient Japan

The translation and analysis of a 9th century text describing the spread of Buddhism in medieval Japan.

My project offers a new perspective on early Japanese Buddhism. In contrast to past scholars' focus on elite monks, powerful institutions, and national identity, I will highlight the lives of decidedly non-eminent preachers active in the provinces and illuminate teachings and practices that transcend sectarian and national borders. To do so, I will utilize a manuscript referred to as “Draft of Todai-ji Homilies (Todaiji fujumon ko),” as well as a variety of other sources including tales, gazetteers, and archaeological surveys. These materials record information about non-elite clerics who traveled from the capital to the provinces to perform sermons and conduct rituals. I will introduce a networks based approach, which illuminates exchange amongst individuals, teachings, and regions, to reassess the period. This research will result in the publication of a monograph of six chapters and an annotated translation of “Draft of Todai-ji Homilies.”

Project fields:
East Asian History; East Asian Studies; Nonwestern Religion

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2016 – 10/31/2016