JJRS 48/2 Shards from a Wooden Shoe Shop: Religious Experience, Historical Change, and Suzuki Daisetsu

James E. Ketelaar

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The Myōkōnin are a distinctive group of devout Buddhist practitioners in Japan. Their history can be traced to the mid-Tokugawa period, generally associated with the Pure Land tradition, and over the centuries hundreds have been identified as belonging to this group. After a review of this history, with a particular look at its affective aspects and the history of the major chronicle of its members, the Myōkōninden, this article shows how early ideas associated with the Myōkōnin were taken up, and extended by Suzuki Daisetsu in the mid-twentieth century as part of his world historical arguments for a new Japanese-inspired form of self-realization appropriate to the postwar world.