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Partaking of Life: Buddhism, Meat-Eating, and Sacrificial Discourses of Gratitude in Contemporary Japan

Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
Religions 2019, 10(4), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10040279
Received: 31 March 2019 / Revised: 6 April 2019 / Accepted: 15 April 2019 / Published: 18 April 2019
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Abstract

In contemporary Japan, a Buddhist discourse has emerged that links life and food and centers on gratitude. While the connection between animals and gratitude has a long history in Buddhism, here the meaning of repaying a debt of gratitude has shifted from an emphasis on liberating animals to consuming them with gratitude, thereby replacing anti-meat-eating arguments with a sacrificial rationale. This rationale is also apparent in Partaking of Life, a children’s book written by a Jōdo Shin Buddhist adherent, which has found a receptive audience in Jōdo Shin circles, including the voice-acting troupe Team Ichibanboshi. This article provides a close reading of Partaking of Life: The Day That Little Mii Becomes Meat, followed by historical contexts for Buddhist vegetarianism and discrimination against professions that rely on killing animals, particularly as these themes pertain to Jōdo Shin Buddhism. The essay ends on an analysis of Team Ichibanboshi’s sermon on Partaking of Life. View Full-Text
Keywords: meat-eating; vegetarianism; sacrifice; life; gratitude; discrimination; Jōdo Shin Buddhism; Team Ichibanboshi meat-eating; vegetarianism; sacrifice; life; gratitude; discrimination; Jōdo Shin Buddhism; Team Ichibanboshi
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Ambros, B.R. Partaking of Life: Buddhism, Meat-Eating, and Sacrificial Discourses of Gratitude in Contemporary Japan. Religions 2019, 10, 279.

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