Journal of Buddhist Ethics

An online journal of Buddhist scholarship related to ethics.


Review: Gods of Medieval Japan

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 24, 2017

Gods of Medieval Japan, Volume 1: The Fluid Pantheon by Bernard Faure. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2015, xii + 496 pages, ISBN 978-0-8248-3933-8 (hardback), $55.00.
Gods of Medieval Japan, Volume 2: Protectors and Predators by Bernard Faure. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2015, x + 512 pages, ISBN 978-0-8248-3931-4 (hardback), $55.00.
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Reviewed by Joseph P. Elacqua

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Review: Japanese Women, Pregnancy Loss, and Modern Rituals of Grieving

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 23, 2016

Narratives of Sorrow and Dignity: Japanese Women, Pregnancy Loss, and Modern Rituals of Grieving. By Bardwell L. Smith. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013, xvii + 410 pag-es, ISBN 978-0-19-994213-8 (cloth), $115.00.

Reviewed by Maureen L. Walsh

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Review: Critical Buddhism and Modern Japanese Buddhist Thought

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 22, 2015

Critical Buddhism: Engaging with Modern Japanese Buddhist Thought. By James Mark Shields. Farnham, Surrey, and Burlington VT: Ashgate, 2011, ISBN: 978-1-4094-1798-9 (hard-back), $119.95.

Reviewed by Ronald S. Green

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Review: The Princess Nun

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 22, 2015

The Princess Nun: Bunchi, Buddhist Reform, and Gender in Early Edo Japan. By Gina Cogan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014, xvi+309 pages, ISBN 978-0674491977 (hardback), $49.95.

Reviewed by Febe D. Pamonag

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Review: Innovation and Activism in Contemporary Japan

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 21, 2014

Experimental Buddhism: Innovation and Activism in Contemporary Japan. By John K. Nelson. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2013, 292 pages, ISBN: 9780824838980 (paper-back), $32.00.

Reviewed by Erez Joskovich

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Review: Religion and the Making of Modern East Asia

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

Religion and the Making of Modern East Asia. By Thomas David DuBois. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, xii+ 259 pages, ISBN 987-1107400405 (paperback), ISBN 978-1107008090 (cloth) $81.00.

Reviewed by Yueh-Mei Lin

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Review: Social Dimension of Shin Buddhism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

The Social Dimension of Shin Buddhism. Ugo Dessi, Editor. Leiden: Brill, 2010, 286 pages; ISBN 978-90-04-18653-8 (Cloth), $153.00.

Reviewed by Glenn R. Willis

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Review: Temples, Burial, and the Transformation of Contemporary Japanese Buddhism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 19, 2012

Bonds of the Dead: Temples, Burial, and the Transformation of Contemporary Japanese Buddhism. By Mark Michael Rowe. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2011, xv + 258 pages, ISBN 978-0-226-73015-8 (paper), $29.00.

Reviewed by T.O. Benedict

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Review: A 1918 Japanese Pilgrimage

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 18, 2011

The 1918 Shikoku Pilgrimage of Takamure Itsue, an English translation of Musume Junreiki by Takamure Itsue. Translated by Susan Tennant. Bowen Island, BC: Bowen Publishing, 2010, 274 pages, ISBN 978-1-45-054075-9 (paper), $16.95.

Reviewed by Ronald S. Green

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Review: Shugendō Now

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 18, 2011

Shugendō Now. A film directed by Jean-Marc Abela and produced by Mark P. Mcguire. Montréal: Empower Productions, 2009, 88 minutes, Japanese with narration; English, French, Spanish subtitles and narration, Individual use: CAD $20.00; Public/Educational use: CAD $150.00.

Reviewed by Heather Blair

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Review: The Early Shōtoku Cult in Japan

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 18, 2011

Shōtoku: Ethnicity, Ritual, and Violence in the Japanese Buddhist Tradition. By Michael I. Como. New York: Oxford, 2008, 256 pages, ISBN: 978-0195188615 (hardcover), US $45.00.

Reviewed by Mark Dennis

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Review: Sōtō Zen in Tokugawa Japan

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 12, 2005

The Other Side of Zen: A Social History of Sōtō Zen Buddhism in Tokugawa Japan.By Duncan Ryūken Williams. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005. xiv + 241 pages. ISBN: 0-691-11928-7.

Reviewed by Steven Heine

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Review: Religion in Japan

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 7, 2000

Practically Religious: Worldly Benefits and the Common Religion of Japan. By Ian Reader and George J. Tanabe, Jr. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1998, xii + 303 pages, ISBN: 0–8248–2065–7 (Hardback), ISBN: 0–8248–2090–8 (Paperback), US $45.00 (Hardback), US $22.95 (Paperback).

Reviewed by Fabio Rambelli

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Buddhism and the Morality of Abortion

ISSN:1076–9005
Volume 5 1995

Buddhism and the Morality of Abortion

Michael G. Barnhart
Kingsborough, CUNY

It is quite clear from a variety of sources that abortion has been severely disapproved of in the Buddhist tradition. It is also equally clear that abortion has been tolerated in Buddhist Japan and accommodated under exceptional circumstances by some modern Buddhists in the UṢ. Those sources most often cited that prohibit abortion are Theravādin and ancient. By contrast, Japanese Buddhism as well as the traditions out of which a more lenient approach emerges are more recent and Mahāyāna traditions. Buddhism itself, therefore, speaks with more than one moral voice on this issue, and furthermore, the nature of the moral debate may have important applications for similarly situated others and constitute an enlargement of the repertoire of applicable moral theories and rationales.

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Abortion, Ambiguity, and Exorcism

SSN:1076-9005
Volume 5, 1998

Abortion, Ambiguity, and Exorcism

William R. LaFleur
University of Pennsylvania

In Japan, persons who have had abortions but believe that a fetus has more value than merely disposable matter may act on that belief, most commonly by making a ritual apology to the spiritual aspect of the fetus, referred to as a mizuko or “child of the waters.” R. Zwi Werblowsky wrote a scathing attack on the practice of mizuko kuyô across the board, claiming that it has been nothing more than a scam from beginning to end. And now, in Marketing the Menacing Fetus in Japan, Helen Hardacre has given us a study which, in essence, makes much the same claim. The issues Hardacre raises are important, not just for an understanding of Japanese religion but because of what they may tell us about the state of our own debates in North America. By this I mean not only our debates about abortion but also about religion, especially as expressed in societies different from our own.

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Review: Chōmei’s Hōjōki

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 4 1997

Hōjōki: Visions of a Torn World by Kamo-no-Chōmei. Translated By Yasuhiko Moriguchi and David Jenkins, with illustrations by Michael Hofmann. Berkeley: Stone Bridge Press, 1996, 93 pages, ISBN 1-8806-5622-1 (paperback), $9.95.

Reviewed by David L. Gardiner

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Review: Japanese Mandalas

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Japanese Mandalas: Representations of Sacred Geography. By Elizabeth ten Grotenhuis. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1998, 227 pages plus 22 color plates and 104 black-and-white illustrations, ISBN: 0-8248-2000-2, US $52.00 (cloth), ISBN: 0-8248-2081-9, US $29.25 (paper).

Reviewed by Ian Harris

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Review: Shin Buddhist Religion and Culture

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 5 1998

Popular Buddhism in Japan: Shin Buddhist Religion and Culture. By Esben Andreasen. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1998, 199 pages, ISBN: 0-8248-2027-4 (cloth), US$39.00, ISBN: 0-8248-2028-2 (paperback), US$22.95.

Reviewed by Charles B. Jones

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Review: Hōnen’s Life and Thought

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 5 1998

Hōnens Buddhismus des Reinen Landes: Reform, Reformation oder Häresie?. By Christoph Kleine. Bern, Berlin, et al.: Peter Lang, 1996, xiii + 427 pages pages, ISBN 3-631-49852-7, DM 108.

Reviewed by Gregor Paul

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Review: Zen at War

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 5 1998

Zen at War. By Brian (Daizen) A. Victoria. New York & Tokyo: Weatherhill, 1997, xii + 228 pages, ISBN 0-8348-0405-0, $19.95.

Reviewed by Fabio Rambelli

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Review: Engaged Buddhism in Asia

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 5 1998

Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Liberation Movements in Asia. Edited by Christopher S. Queen and Sallie B. King. New York: State University of New York, 1996, xii + 446 pages, ISBN 0-7914-2844-3, $24.95.

Reviewed by Mavis L. Fenn

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