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Visions of Power : Imagining Medieval Japanese Buddhism - Bernard Faure

Visions of Power

Imagining Medieval Japanese Buddhism

By: Bernard Faure, Phyllis Brooks (Translator)

Paperback Published: 4th June 2000
ISBN: 9780691029412
Number Of Pages: 352

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Bernard Faure's previous works are well known as guides to some of the more elusive aspects of the Chinese tradition of Chan Buddhism and its outgrowth, Japanese Zen. Continuing his efforts to look at Chan/Zen with a full array of postmodernist critical techniques, Faure now probes the "imaginaire, " or mental universe, of the Buddhist Soto Zen master Keizan Jokin (1268-1325). Although Faure's new book may be read at one level as an intellectual biography, Keizan is portrayed here less as an original thinker than as a representative of his culture and an example of the paradoxes of the Soto school. The Chan/Zen doctrine that he avowed was allegedly reasonable and demythologizing, but he lived in a psychological world that was just as imbued with the marvelous as was that of his contemporary Dante Alighieri.

Drawing on his own dreams to demonstrate that he possessed the magical authority that he felt to reside also in icons and relics, Keizan strove to use these "visions of power" to buttress his influence as a patriarch. To reveal the historical, institutional, ritual, and visionary elements in Keizan's life and thought and to compare these to Soto doctrine, Faure draws on largely neglected texts, particularly the "Record of Tokoku" (a chronicle that begins with Keizan's account of the origins of the first of the monasteries that he established) and the "kirigami," or secret initiation documents.

Industry Reviews

"In Visions of Power, Faure once again demonstrates his superb command of original sources as well as an innovative methodology that constantly probes uncharted territory and boldly overturns the prevailing assumptions of the orthodox view of a 'pure' iconoclastic Zen tradition... [This book] is eminently successful in carving out a distinct yet complementary agenda in content, method, and approach."--Steven Heine, Monumenta Nipponica "[Faure's] account of Keizan is a convincing conquest of historical vision, and opens up the exciting prospect of similar treatment for a whole gallery of figures from the Buddhist past."--Joseph S. O'Leary, Japanese Journal of Religious Studies "Faure ... has reconstructed the study of Zen as a religion to the point that scholars of religion generally should begin turning to this field to find what they would not expect: a rich tradition of icons, rituals, myths, and magic power. This volume is the best place for them to start."--James H. Foard, The Journal of Religion

List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
Introductionp. 3
Autobiographical Imaginationp. 30
Imagined Lineagesp. 47
Imagining Powersp. 71
Mythical Imaginairep. 83
Dreamingp. 114
Images of Deathp. 144
Places of the Mindp. 179
The Ritual Bodyp. 198
The Power of Symbolsp. 224
Iconic Imaginationp. 237
Beyond Iconsp. 264
Epilogue: Imagination and Ideologyp. 275
Glossaryp. 289
Bibliographyp. 299
Indexp. 323
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691029412
ISBN-10: 0691029415
Series: Imagining Medieval Japanese Buddhism
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 4th June 2000
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.24  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.5