Discipline, Compassion, and Enlightenment at a Japanese Zen Temple
An intimate and insightful look into the life of a head Soto Zen temple in 21st century Japan
Sōjiji is one of the two head temples of Sōtō Zen, the largest sect of Japanese Buddhism. The temple is steeped in centuries of culture and tradition, but it is very much rooted in the present and future, performing functions and catering to needs that reflect the changing demographic, social, and religious landscapes of contemporary Japan.
Based on more than fifteen years of fieldwork, interviews, and archival research, Sōjiji: Discipline, Compassion, and Enlightenment at a Japanese Zen Temple immerses the reader in the lives and experiences of the different groups that comprise Sōjiji's contemporary religious community. Through clear and accessible prose, ethnographically-grounded analysis, and emotionally compelling stories, the reader will explore the rich pastiche of daily life and ritual activity at a major Japanese Zen temple in institutional, historical, and social context through the lived practices of its community of clergy, practitioners, parishioners, and visitors.
Praise / Awards
“Combining intimate portraits of lay participants, trainee priests, and senior clergy with informative analyses of the history and operations of one of Japan’s most significant temples, Irizarry’s Sojiji provides us with a vivid bottom-up account of contemporary Japanese Zen. Meticulous thick descriptions of novitiate training, daily life in the temple’s distinct spaces (from the prayer hall to the kitchen), ritualized debates and other practical engagements with texts, tensions between priestly and lay attitudes toward meditation and enlightenment, and even a vibrant account of taking part in goeika (devotional singing), among many other aspects, animate Irizarry’s compelling discussions of ways immersion in Sojiji’s communities and their attendant practices shape participants’ worldviews and life courses. Lucid, jargon-free prose and engrossing detail make this book a must for undergraduate courses, and it will also appeal to general readers and specialists alike who want a peek into the inner workings of temple life.”
—Levi McLaughlin, Associate Professor, North Carolina State University
You May Also Be Interested In
Available for sale worldwide
Add to Cart
Add to Cart