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Grace for the Wicked: A Doctrinal Analysis of Shinran’s Akunin Shōki within Shin Buddhism

  • Author / Creator
    Stalinger, Jarrett
  • The doctrine of akunin shōki has had a profound impact on Japanese religious and intellectual history. The idea that “the object of Amida’s salvation is evil people,” has a long history both within True Pure Land Buddhism (Jōdo Shinshū) and outside of it. I argue that, while there have been different perspectives on what has been understood by akunin related to akunin shōki, patterns can be seen by thinkers in the medieval and modern periods. I do this through historical and doctrinal analysis of akunin shōki itself and by framing it as a process of intellectual and religious evolution that had been ongoing in Japan for some time, even prior to the introduction of Buddhism. Using thinkers such as James C. Dobbins, Ogoshi Aiko, and Jamie Hubbard, I seek to evaluate the relationship between the internal world and the external realm through a doctrinal discussion regarding akunin shōki. I use historical texts written by Shinran 親鸞 (1173-1263) to show how his perception of akunin was informed by preceding ideas while also being influential on future thinkers. With this I seek to show how cosmology affects anthropology and vice versa in the practical effects of doctrinal influences on Japanese history.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2023
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-0zbk-zk37
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.