Next Article in Journal
Transcending the Technocratic Mentality through the Humanities
Next Article in Special Issue
Daoist Cosmogony in the Kojiki 古事記 Preface
Previous Article in Journal
Family Dynamics, Fertility Cults, and Feminist Critiques: The Reception of Hosea 1–3 through the Centuries
Previous Article in Special Issue
Milk, Yogurt and Butter in Medieval East Asia: Dairy Products from China to Japan in Medicine and Buddhism
Article

From China to Japan and Back Again: An Energetic Example of Bidirectional Sino-Japanese Esoteric Buddhist Transmission

Independent Researcher, Palo Alto, CA 94303, USA
Academic Editor: Jeffrey L. Richey
Religions 2021, 12(9), 675; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12090675
Received: 28 July 2021 / Revised: 16 August 2021 / Accepted: 18 August 2021 / Published: 24 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chinese Influences on Japanese Religious Traditions)
Sino-Japanese religious discourse, more often than not, is treated as a unidirectional phenomenon. Academic treatments of pre-modern East Asian religion usually portray Japan as the passive recipient of Chinese Buddhist traditions, while explorations of Buddhist modernization efforts focus on how Chinese Buddhists utilized Japanese adoptions of Western understandings of religion. This paper explores a case where Japan was simultaneously the receptor and agent by exploring the Chinese revival of Tang-dynasty Zhenyan. This revival—which I refer to as Neo-Zhenyan—was actualized by Chinese Buddhist who received empowerment (Skt. abhiṣeka) under Shingon priests in Japan in order to claim the authority to found “Zhenyan” centers in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, and even the USA. Moreover, in addition to utilizing Japanese Buddhist sectarianism to root their lineage in the past, the first known architect of Neo-Zhenyan, Wuguang (1918–2000), used energeticism, the thermodynamic theory propagated by the German chemist Freidrich Wilhelm Ostwald (1853–1932; 1919 Nobel Prize for Chemistry) that was popular among early Japanese Buddhist modernists, such as Inoue Enryō (1858–1919), to portray his resurrected form of Zhenyan as the most suitable form of Buddhism for the future. Based upon the circular nature of esoteric transmission from China to Japan and back to the greater Sinosphere and the use of energeticism within Neo-Zhenyan doctrine, this paper reveals the sometimes cyclical nature of Sino-Japanese religious influence. Data were gathered by closely analyzing the writings of prominent Zhenyan leaders alongside onsite fieldwork conducted in Taiwan from 2011–2019. View Full-Text
Keywords: Buddhism; Japan; China; Shingon; energeticism; Ostwald; Wuguang; Zhenyan; Taiwan; Taixu Buddhism; Japan; China; Shingon; energeticism; Ostwald; Wuguang; Zhenyan; Taiwan; Taixu
MDPI and ACS Style

Bahir, C.R. From China to Japan and Back Again: An Energetic Example of Bidirectional Sino-Japanese Esoteric Buddhist Transmission. Religions 2021, 12, 675. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12090675

AMA Style

Bahir CR. From China to Japan and Back Again: An Energetic Example of Bidirectional Sino-Japanese Esoteric Buddhist Transmission. Religions. 2021; 12(9):675. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12090675

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bahir, Cody R. 2021. "From China to Japan and Back Again: An Energetic Example of Bidirectional Sino-Japanese Esoteric Buddhist Transmission" Religions 12, no. 9: 675. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12090675

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop