On January 24 at a ceremony at the Honolulu Consulate General of Japan, University of Hawai‘i professor emeritus George J. Tanabe, Jr. was conferred with the Government of Japan’s Imperial Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, in honor of his contributions toward the strengthening of academic and cultural exchanges between the United States and Japan. The award recognizes his work in promoting Japanese culture and values through research and studies in Japanese religions.
Experimental Buddhism highlights the complex and often wrenching interactions between long-established religious traditions and rapid social, cultural, and economic change. Based on ethnographic fieldwork and archival research, it is one of the first studies to give readers a sense of what is happening on the front lines as progressive Buddhist priests try to reboot their roles and traditions to gain greater significance in Japanese society. The book profiles innovative as well as controversial responses to the challenges facing Buddhist priests.
The work’s central theme of experimental Buddhism provides a fresh perspective to understand how priests and other individuals employ Buddhist traditions in selective and pragmatic ways, frequently risking criticism from their peers, constituents, and high-ranking religious authorities. Using these inventive approaches during a time of crisis and transition for Japanese temple Buddhism, priests and practitioners from all denominations seek solutions that not only can transform their religious traditions but also influence society and their fellow citizens in positive ways.
The term “revival” has been used to describe the resurgent vitality of Buddhism in Taiwan. Particularly impressive is the quality and size of the nun’s order: Taiwanese nuns today are highly educated and greatly outnumber monks. Both characteristics are unprecedented in the history of Chinese Buddhism and are evident in the Incense Light community (Xiangguang). Passing the Light: The Incense Light Community and Buddhist Nuns in Contemporary Taiwan, by Chün-Fang Yü, is the first in-depth case study of the community, which was founded in 1974 and remains a small but influential order of highly educated nuns who dedicate themselves to teaching Buddhism to lay adults.
The most common description of the supernatural landscape in Vietnam makes a distinction between Buddhist and non-Buddhist “sides.” The “Buddha side” (ben phat) is the focus of this investigation into the intersection of gender, power, and religious praxis. Employing an anthropological approach to Buddhist practice that takes into account modes of action that are not only socially constructed and contextual, but also negotiated by the actors, The Buddha Side: Gender, Power, and Buddhist Practice in Vietnam, by Alexander Soucy, uniquely explores how gender and age affect understandings of what it means to be a Buddhist.
“The Buddha Side is an outstanding study. Embracing complexity and variation, Alexander Soucy deftly describes and analyzes the wide range of attitudes toward, engagements with, and meanings of Buddhism and Buddhist practice in contemporary northern Vietnam. It is a model anthropological study of religion, especially in its approach to gender, and will be of value to all scholars who seek a deeper understanding of religion as a lived human experience.” —Shaun Kingsley Malarney, International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan
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