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3rd Unit : 1st Meeting of Study Group Series “Formations of Written Religious Sacred Texts and Their Meaning: A Consideration for Tools for Creating Multicultural Harmonious Coexistence”

1st Meeting of Study Group Series "Formations of Written Religious Sacred Texts and Their Meaning: A Consideration for Tools for Creating Multicultural Harmonious Coexistence"

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  On July 5, 2014, the 3rd Unit of the Ircp held the first meeting of a study group series on the theme “Formations of Written Religious Sacred Texts and Their Meaning: A Consideration for Tools for Creating Multicultural Harmonious Coexistence” at the Toyo University (Building6, Room6206). Religion is a significant to multicultural harmonious coexistence, and the sacred texts that put the teachings of a religion into written form constitute the core around which a religious community comes into existence. The questions of how these sacred texts are created in their written forms and authorized by a religion are core topics to be examined in this study group series. Thus Watanabe Shogo (Ircp Researcher) remarked first. Professor Emeritus Sonoda Minoru (Kyoto University) and Professor Emeritus Miyake Hitoshi (Keio University) followed Watanabe's remarks with presentations on the creation of texts in Shinto and Shugendo.

    Sonoda spoke as follows: “The jinja engiare one kind of document that shrines compiled about their origins and the miracles performed by the deity that each venerates. Such documents were created incessantly, mainly during the medieval and early modern periods. In the shrine circles of the modern era, these types of texts were formally called jinja yuisho(“the origins of the shrine”) rather than jinja engi. This is because engiis a word of Buddhist origin and its use was avoided in the years after the Meiji Restoration, a time when those in shrine circles had worked to eliminate all Buddhist influences. However, the jinja engiwere produced under the system of Shinto-Buddhist syncretism that has existed throughout Shinto history. As such, in certain respects they continue to provide the scriptural foundations for the shrines even today. In fact, jinja yuishomay generally be referred to as [jinja] engiwithout any regard to the fact that attempts to remove Buddhist influences have been made since early modern times.” Given that, he has taken up the jinja engias examples of written sacred texts for Shrine Shinto, and painstakingly tracked the process of the shift from “Buddhist origin, Shinto trace” to “Shinto origin, Buddhist trace” that has occurred under the influence of these Jiin(Temple) engiwhile investigating their overall significance.2

    Miyake, for his part, took up the sacred texts associated with Shugendo. He began by noting that they initially were formed as compilations of oral traditions and written instructions known as kirigami(literally “paper strips”) taken from the Tendai and Shingon (esoteric) Buddhist traditions as well as Shinto sources. Within the Tendai sect in particular, both the Sanmon school (centered on Mt. Hiei) and the Jimon school (centered on Onjo Temple) made as their three central pillars both exoteric and esoteric teachings as well as shugen(mountainascesis). A forerunner in this regard was the early 13th century Jimon school monk Keisei (1189–1260), who in his work Shozan engidrew connections between the engiand sacred places (reichi) of Omine (in modern Nara), Katsuragi (also in modern Nara), having an implication of the Lotus Sutraand esoteric Buddhism. This was followed by a work from the early 14th century sectarian scribe Koshu (1276–1350) titled Keiran shuyo shuthat took up such sacred mountains as Omine in a chapter on “matters of the Sanno(Sanno no koto)” and put particular emphasis on the deity Bezaiten as manifested at Tenkawa. Miyake then turned to explanation grounded in the principles of esoteric Buddhism and in hongaku(“original enlightenment”) theory in Tendai thought. In the mid-14th century, a wandering shugenpractitioner named Sokuden (dates unknown) produced a work titled Shugen shuyo hiketsu shucompiling 50 kirigamion clothing, the meaning of terms, rituals to be followed for entering sacred mountain, and so forth in connection to Mt. Kinbu and Mt. Hiko. The influences of Tendai hongakuthought and esoteric Buddhism on this work are evident in this work as well. In the late 17th century, the Onjo Temple monk Shiko (1662–1720) produced a work titled Jimon denki horokuin which he used the aforementioned works to argue for the primal orthodoxy of shugenas practiced at Onjo and originated by the 9th century Jimon school founder Enchin. Thus, Miyake argued, the Tendi sect was deeply involved in the formation and development of the sacred texts associated with Shugendo.

   Miyamoto Hisayoshi (Ircp Researcher) then brought the study group meeting to a close, ending a conclave of deep significance to the 30 or so people who attended.

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