Webinar: George Klonos "Divining the Future and Averting Misfortune in Japan: The Case of Shugendō"

Michael Luedke's picture
November 24, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Japanese History / Studies, Religious Studies and Theology, Asian History / Studies

Webinar/virtual lecture:

24 November 2020, 6:15 pm–7:45 pm Central Eureopean Time (US East Coast: 12:15 pm–1:45 pm EST)

Divining the Future and Averting Misfortune in Japan: The Case of Shugendō

Speaker: George Klonos (East Asian Religions; IKGF Visiting Fellow)


Online participation is open to everybody—please register anytime at http://ikgf.fau.de/lectures



Shugendō 修験道, the tradition of Japanese mountain asceticism, was ubiquitous in Japanese religious life, its patrons and clientele ranging from courtiers and warriors to farmers and city dwellers. Its adherents used their powers, acquired from practice in the numerous mountains of Japan, to provide services such as healing, exorcisms, and protective talismans to their clients.

The textual study of Shugendō reveals a tradition rich in Esoteric Buddhist doctrine and ritual, although distinct in its own way from the Tendai 天台 and Shingon 真言 schools that are usually the focus of research on Japanese Esoteric Buddhism. This talk will introduce ritual methods from collections of kirigami 切紙, texts composed in the early modern period (16001868) in various parts of the country, which contain hundreds of methods on a variety of subjects such as childbirth, protection from wild animals and spirits, epidemics, protection from bandits, fires, dreams, et cetera.

This ritual technology adapted both Indian (dhāraṇī, Siddhaṃ 悉曇 script) and Chinese (five phases, trigrams, branches and stems) systems of knowledge, combining them to produce methods in which both sound (speech) and image play an important role.


Contact Info: 

Michael Lüdke, International Research Consortium “Fate, Freedom, and Prognostication—Strategies for Coping with the Future in East Asia and Europe," University of Erlangen–Nuremberg, http://ikgf.fau.de


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