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The Weaving of Mantra
Author: Ryuichi Abe

ISBN: 9780231112871
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 620
Published: 17 December 1999
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 25.4 x 15.9 x 3.3

The great Buddhist priest KAkai (774-835) is credited with the introduction and establishment of tantric -- or esoteric -- Buddhism in early ninth-century Japan. In "The Weaving of Mantra, " RyAichi AbA(c) examines this important religious figure -- neglected in modern academic literature -- and his profound influence on Japanese culture. Offering a radically new approach to the study of early religious history -- combining historical research, discourse analysis, literary criticism, and semiology -- AbA(c) contends that the importance of KAkai's transmission of esoteric Buddhism to Japan lay not in the foundation of a new sect but in his creation of a general theory of language grounded in the ritual speech of mantra.

"The Weaving of Mantra" embeds KAkai within the fabric of political and social life in ninth-century Japan and explains how esoteric Buddhism played a crucial role in many societal changes in Japan -- from the growth of monasteries into major feudal powers to the formation of the native phonetic alphabet, kana. As AbA(c) illustrates, KAkai's writings and the new type of discourse they spawned also marked Japan's transiti...

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