Atsumori and Buddhism

Just from the introduction, you can tell the large impact that Buddhism has/had on Japanese literature. The fact that in earlier versions of warrior plays, they are in a hellish realm where they are forced to participate in a never ending war portrays how in Buddhism, warriors are punished for their actions of killing others even though it was their duty and a requirement for their job. It would be interesting to further research/pay attention to the conflicting requirements of Buddhism and that of the Samurai and to see how these warriors react. In the case of Rensho, he turns completely to Buddhism and becomes a monk after feeling guilty and regretting killing Atsumori and I am interested to see how others react.

In “Atsumori”, the actions of Rensho and Atsumori are driven by karma in an attempt to negate and equalize the negative karma that they achieved in life. They do so in order to reach salvation, whether that be from their own personal torment such as in Rensho’s case or from actual hell such as with Atsumori. Being saved all rests on Atsumori and whether he forgives Rensho or not, and by choosing to do the former, he puts both of them on a track towards a better future.

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