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Arising of Faith in the Human Body: Ryukoku Post-doctoral Research Fellow and Numata Lecture

October 8, 2014
3:00 pmto6:00 pm

Please join us for a public lecture to be delivered by the Institute of Buddhist Studies’ 2014 Ryukoku University Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Dr. Takahiko Kameyama, Wednesday, October 8, from 3:00 p.m., at the Jodo Shinshu Center. The event is free and open to the public.

This event made possible by the generous support of the Numata Foundation.

Arising of Faith in the Human Body: The Significance of Embryological and Physiological Discourses in Medieval Shingon Buddhist Tradition

In medieval Shingon Esoteric Buddhism, faith in the human body, that is the firm belief in the fundamental equality between the human body and Buddha’s bodies, was considered vitally important for the purpose of “attaining Buddhahood within this very body” (sokushin jōbutsu), the ultimate goal of Shingon Buddhism. Shingon Buddhist practitioners were thought to be able to attain enlightenment immediately without any practices by means of profoundly believing that their own bodies are Buddha’s bodies as they are. And, esoteric embryological and physiological discourses, which respectively stem from Indian Buddhist embryology and Chinese classic medicine, were regarded as necessary for Shingon practitioners to acquire this belief.

In this presentation, first of all, I will show the significant role that esoteric embryological and physiological discourses had, in medieval Shingon Buddhist tradition, in terms of practitioners’ acquisition of faith in the human body. On the basis of this discussion, I will also examine the characteristics of faith in Shingon Buddhist thought.

Takahiko Kameyama studied at Ryūkoku University in Japan (PhD in Buddhist Studies, 2013), and currently serves as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow of Institute of Buddhist Studies. He specializes in Japanese Esoteric Buddhism, as well as in the Buddhist medical discourses and rituals. His dissertation explored the formation and development of the doctrine of “attaining Buddhahood within this very body” in Japanese Esoteric Buddhist tradition.

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