Ascetic practices are a common feature of religion in Japan, practiced by different religious traditions. This book looks at these ascetic practices in an inter-sectarian and inter-doctrinal fashion, in order to highlight the underlying themes common to all forms of asceticism. It does so by employing a multidisciplinary methodology, which integrates participant fieldwork – the author himself engaged extensively in ascetic practices – with a hermeneutical interpretation of the body as the primary locus of transmission of the ascetic ‘embodied tradition’. By unlocking this ‘bodily data’, the book unveils the human body as the main tool and text of ascetic practice. This book includes discussion of the many extraordinary rituals practiced by Japanese ascetics.
Table of Contents
Preface Introduction 1. Translating Fundamental Categories: The Human Body and Asceticism 2. Modes of Ascetic Practice 3. The Ascetic Practitioner: Identity and Motivation 4. Ascetic Practices in Context 5. Corporis Ascensus Conclusion
Tullio Federico Lobetti is Senior Teaching Fellow in the Study of Religions Department at SOAS, University of London, UK.
Foreword writer, Hirochika Nakamaki, is Director of the Suita City Museum and Professor Emeritus of the National Museum of Ethnology, Japan.
"Ascetic Practices in Japanese Religion makes a fine introductory read for students of Japanese religions and Shugendo and offers creative theoretical insights." - Shayne A. P. Dahl, University of Toronto
"Lobetti's work is to be commended for both the value of his research data, which in many cases have been collected through "extreme" fieldwork (the author himself performed several of the harsh practices analyzed in the book), and his thoughful use of typologies for the clarification of this somewhat elusive religious phenomenon." - Ugo Dessì, Universität Leipzig