Chapter

Gyōnen as Buddhist Historian

Mark L. Blum

in The Origins and Development of Pure Land Buddhism

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195125245
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833993 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019512524X.003.0004
 Gyōnen as Buddhist Historian

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This chapter assesses Gyōnen's achievement as a historian. For many today, it is Gyōnen the religious historian who is best known, but it remains to be seen precisely what type of historian he was, what was the nature of his historical consciousness, and what his purposes were in the writing of history. After an introduction, the chapter has nine sections. These discuss: Gyōnen's historical model – the transmission of Buddhism from India to China to Japan; his reassertion of a traditional view of the precepts; the concept of mappō and the perception of decline; the sangoku construct – Buddhism defined as Indian, Chinese, and Japanese; Kakuken's Sangoku Dentōki as prototype for Gyōnen's theoretical framework; Gyōnen in relation to Kakuken (a comparison); sectarian ambiguity and institutional legitimation (the concept of shū); the tracing of the Japanese origins of Buddhism from China back to the Nara period; and Conclusion.

Keywords: Buddhism; Buddhist history; China; Gyōnen; India; Japan; Kakuken; mappō; Nara period; Sangoku; sectarianism; shū

Chapter.  31175 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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