Responsable: Christophe Marquet

École française d'Extrême-Orient
Kitashirakawa bettô-chô 29, Sakyô-ku
606-8276 Kyoto
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〒606-8276 京都市左京区北白川別当町29

Anna Seidel Memorial Lecture 2015
03 APRIL 15
The Goddess on the Threshold: Another Look at Medieval
Japanese Religion

Bernard Faure (Columbia University)

11 juin, 2018 18:00-19:30 @Kyoto University, Institute for Research in Humanities,
Center for Informatics in East Asian Studies

Adresse: Kitashirakawa Higashi-ogura-cho 47, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8265

Language : anglais

  Abstract: The traditional approach to Japanese
religion, which consists at conceiving it as formed of two main strands,
Buddhism and Shinto, or of two types of sacred beings, the buddhas and the
kami, is counterproductive and misleading. It leads to reducing the majority of
Japanese deities to the status of “moot deities,” neither buddhas nor kami. The
deity called Datsueba (the old woman who snatches the clothes of the dead) is a
case in point, and I hope to use this case to make a larger point about
Japanese religion (and perhaps Asian religions in general).
The nature and function of
Datsueba has been the object of the last publications of Anna Seidel. This
paper is a tribute and an extended footnote to her work on the topic. As a
complement to her work, I would like to explore two specific aspects of
Datsueba, namely, her implicit status as female counterpart of King Yama, the
judge of the dead, and her embryological function as "placenta deity"
(enagami). In so doing, I also want to emphasize how this deity, which
has been described as specifically Japanese, represents in fact the resurgence
of a motif already found in Indian Buddhism. The two aspects — native and
foreign, Japanese and Indian, or “Shintō” and Buddhist, are constantly
intertwined in a broader network that constitutes Japanese religion, and that
any attempt to separate them or to emphasize one at the expense of the other,
is tantamount to emptying this religion of its living content.

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