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Mourning the Unborn DeadA Buddhist Ritual Comes to America$
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Jeff Wilson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195371932

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195371932.001.0001

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“Branching Streams Flow On in the Dark”

“Branching Streams Flow On in the Dark”

Rethinking American Buddhism in Light of Mizuko Kuyō

(p.107) 4 “Branching Streams Flow On in the Dark”
Mourning the Unborn Dead

Jeff Wilson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that ritual needs to be given greater attention in the historiography of American Buddhism. The popularity of mizuko kuyō points to a significant turn toward appreciation of ritual in convert Zen since the 1980s, as women have taken a greater role in leadership and Zen’s own success has led to a diversification of views. Furthermore, ritual has always existed to a larger extent than previous studies acknowledged, but it was partially obscured by uncritical acceptance of Zen practitioners’ descriptions of normative practice. Future studies should try to focus on neglected areas that may bring this wider range of practices to light; possible foci include places, material culture, bodies, and emotions, all of which have been insufficiently accounted for in previous research.

Keywords:   American Buddhism, bodies, emotions, material culture, place, ritual, women and religion

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