AKP Online Lecture Series on Progressive and Radical Buddhism in Japan (Shields) - W 1/26

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The Associated Kyoto Program is pleased to announce the first lecture of a 4-part virtual series of talks by AKP Visiting Faculty Fellow James Mark Shields (Bucknell University) on Progressive and Radical Buddhism in Japan. 

For more information on the series, see: https://www.associatedkyotoprogram.org/events/

Register for online attendance here: https://bit.ly/3A1wu3J

Lecture #1: The Many Faces of Meiji Buddhist Enlightenment (1885–1899)
1/26 at 7:00 PM Eastern, 6:00 PM Central, 4:00 PM Pacific (1/27 at 9:00 AM Japan Time)

This lecture will focus on the last two and a half decades of the Meiji era (1868–1912), from the years leading up to the Meiji Constitution of 1889 and the publication of the Imperial Rescript on Education in 1890 to the High Treason Incident of 1910–1911. This was an era marked by conflicting trends. On the one hand, nationalism was becoming more evident both at the level of the state and within popular culture. On the other hand, the relative openness of the first two decades of Meiji was carried on by some intellectuals, politicians and a few influential Buddhist figures, most of whom were inspired by Western ideals of modernity, even as they sought to create a truly Japanese form of Buddhist modernism. While the Buddhist Enlightenment movement (bukkyō keimō katsudō 仏教啓蒙活動) includes the work of roughly a dozen scholars, scholar-priests, and lay Buddhist activists, here we will focus our attention on four of the most significant (and diverse): Inoue Enryō (1858–1919), Shaku Sōen (1859–1919), Hirai Kinza (1859–1916) and Kiyozawa Manshi (1863–1903). Though the social and political conclusions of the above and like-minded figures ranged from mildly liberal to solidly conservative and even, in some cases, quasi-imperialist, they present a fascinating and important bridge to the “progressive” and “radical” Buddhisms of the succeeding generation— especially the work of the New Buddhist Fellowship, and later, the Youth League for Revitalizing Buddhism.

About the speaker: James Mark Shields is Professor of Comparative Humanities and Asian Thought and was Inaugural Director of the Humanities Center at Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA). Educated at McGill University (Canada), the University of Cambridge (UK), and Kyoto University (Japan), he conducts research on modern Buddhist thought, Japanese philosophy, comparative ethics and philosophy of religion. He is author of Critical Buddhism: Engaging with Modern Japanese Buddhist Thought (Ashgate, 2011), Against Harmony: Progressive and Radical Buddhism in Modern Japan (Oxford, 2017), and co-editor of Teaching Buddhism in the West: From the Wheel to the Web (Routledge, 2003), Buddhist Responses to Globalization (Lexington, 2014), and The Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Ethics (Oxford, 2018).