Thursday, May 3, 2012

Downstream Buddhism

Anyone that thinks they have the slightest grasp of Japanese Buddhism needs to read this book. Go for the used paperback unless you want an unmarked pristine copy.

The various and sundry schools - or sects - of Japanese Buddhism did not spring forth from the head of the Buddha. These divisions were products of the times and places in which they emerged.

I will not spoil the book by describing it to you in any detail. Suffice to say Japanese Buddhism is sufficiently corrupted by power, politics, nobility, and (in some cases) stupidity. How, when, and where this happened is almost an aside. But this scholarly treatment of the evolutions of religions is well worth the read.

To paraphrase the Bard: "Get thee to a bookstore, quick!"

More food for thought...