An amenable arrangement: The unification of the nichiren sect in sixteenth-century Kyoto

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Abstract

In this article, I argue that the Nichiren sect in Kyoto was able to recover from its near destruction in 1536 and maintain its position in the capital through the violent sixteenth century by unifying its disparate and contentious lineages under a new governing body, the Council of Head Temples. Unknown until the discovery of its documents in 1982, the council allowed the sect, as a unit, to negotiate with warrior power. The council was the culmination of pro-unity forces in the sect, especially those who succeeded in convincing the two sides to stop fighting each other over the sect’s greatest doctrinal dispute. Previous scholarship has treated the Nichiren sect in the late sixteenth century as being at the mercy of powerful warriors. This article shows that the monks of the Nichiren sect were able to muster considerable resources and not only negotiate better treatment from the warriors but even drive warrior policy.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)73-102
Number of pages30
JournalJapanese Journal of Religious Studies
Volume48
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Council of Head Temples
  • Enroku Treaty
  • Kyoto
  • Nichiren
  • Sixteenth century

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies

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