Doing Buddhism at Jōdo Shinshū Temples

Temple Families, Religious Labor, and Buddhist Ethics in Contemporary Japan

This talk focuses on the role of the priest's wife (known as the ​bōmori ​or temple guardian) as a lens into Buddhist practice, authority, labor, ethics, and economics at parish temples in Japan's most popular Buddhist sect.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM (Pacific Time)
243 Royce Hall
Los Angeles, CA 900096
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More than 90% of Buddhist monks in Japan today are married and live together with their families in the temple. In the traditionally monastic sects, a publicly married clergy is a relatively recent development, dating roughly to the turn of the 20th century; the phenomenon has produced no small amount of anxiety over its seeming incoherence with the ideal of world-renunciation. But in the Jōdo Shinshū, or True Pure Land School of Buddhism, the custom of clerical marriage dates back to the movement's inception in the 13th century, and Shin clerics and their families bring doctrinal resources to bear on their domestic life in the temple. 

Jessie Starling is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. She is also affiliated with the Asian Studies and Gender Studies programs at Lewis & Clark, and teaches classes on Asian religions, religion and gender, and ethnographic research methods. Professor Starling’s research is on Buddhism as lived in contemporary Japan, with a focus on the Jōdo Shinshū and special attention to themes such as gender, family, ethics, emotion and illness. She completed her PhD at the University of Virginia and a postdoc fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley. 

Guests are asked to wear masks. Masks will be provided free of charge to anyone who does not have one.

Cost : Free and open to the public but RSVP required