Against Harmony

Progressive and Radical Buddhism in Modern Japan

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James Mark Shields
  • Oxford, U.K.: 
    Oxford University Press
    , May
     2017.
     416 pages.
     $99.00.
     Hardcover.
    ISBN
    9780190664008.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.

Description

This book is also being reviewed in JAAR by Jolyon Thomas.

Against Harmony traces the history of progressive and radical experiments in Japanese Buddhist thought and practice, from the mid-Meiji period through the early Showa. Perhaps the two best representations of progressive Buddhism during this time were the New Buddhist Fellowship (1899-1915) and the Youth League for Revitalizing Buddhism (1931-1936), both non-sectarian, lay movements well-versed in both classical Buddhist texts and Western philosophy and religion. Their work effectively collapsed commonly held distinctions between religion, philosophy, ethics, politics, and economics. Unlike many others of their day, they did not regard the novel forces of modernization as problematic and disruptive, but as opportunities. 

James Mark Shields examines the intellectual genealogy and alternative visions of progressive and radical Buddhism in the decades leading up to the Pacific War. Exposing the variety in the conceptions and manifestations of progress, reform, and modernity in this period, he outlines their important implications for postwar and contemporary Buddhism in Japan and elsewhere.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

James Mark Shields is associate professor of comparative humanities and Asian thought at Bucknell University.

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