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The Ritual World of Buddhist "Shinto": The Reikiki and Initiations on Kami-Related Matters (Jingi kanjō) in Late Medieval and Early-Modern Japan

Fabio Rambelli
Japanese Journal of Religious Studies
Vol. 29, No. 3/4, Tracing Shinto in the History of Kami Worship (Fall, 2002), pp. 265-297
Published by: Nanzan University
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30233724
Page Count: 33
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The Ritual World of Buddhist "Shinto": The Reikiki and Initiations on Kami-Related Matters (Jingi kanjō) in Late Medieval and Early-Modern Japan
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Abstract

This article describes a set of rituals, closely related to esoteric Buddhist initiations, in which imperial and kami symbols often replace Buddhist ones. These rituals were at the basis of the transmission of knowledge and practices concerning the kami within the larger framework of medieval and early-modern kenmitsu religiosity, a form of applied honji suijaku. Particularly important among these rituals is the role of Reiki kanjō, the secret initiation to the Reikiki, an influential but elusive key text of pre-modern combinatory religion. After the Meiji period these ritual traditions have been dismissed as syncretic aberrations from "pure" Buddhist or Shinto orthodoxy, and have never been studied in depth. However, it was within the context of esoteric kami initiations that the first Shinto lineages took concrete shape. Finally, this article also points out that while these ritual traditions were of medieval origin, they reached their largest diffusion in the early nineteenth century. This fact forces us to reconsider the established image of Edo-period Shinto as a religion moving away from Buddhism.

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