Tracing the Itinerant Path: Jishu Nuns of Medieval Japan.
Griffiths, Caitilin J.
255 leaves.
Microform, Thesis
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Electronic version licensed for access by U. of T. users.
dissertation note
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Toronto, 2010.
general note
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 72-07, Section: A, page: .
local note
ROBARTS MICROTEXT copy on microfiche.
Medieval Japan was a fluid society in which many wanderers, including religious preachers, traveled the roads. One popular band of itinerant proselytizers was the jishu from the Yugyo school, a gender inclusive Amida Pure Land Buddhist group. This dissertation details the particular circumstances of the jishu nuns through the evolving history of the Yugyo school. The aim is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the gender relations and the changing roles women played in this itinerant religious order. Based on the dominant Buddhist view of the status of women in terms of enlightenment, one would have expected the Buddhist schools to have provided only minimal opportunities for women. While the large institutionalized monasteries of the time do reflect this perspective, schools founded by hijiri practitioners, such as the early Yugyo school, contradict these expectations. This study has revealed that during the formation of the Yugyo school in the fourteenth century, jishu nuns held multiple and strong roles, including leadership of mix-gendered practice halls. Over time, as the Yugyo school became increasingly institutionalized, both in their itinerant practices and in their practice halls, there was a corresponding marginalization of the nuns. This thesis attempts to identify the causes of this change and argues that the conversion to a fixed lifestyle and the adoption of mainstream Buddhist doctrine discouraged the co-participation of women in their order.
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