Religions of Japan
5 short answer questions (1 points each): 5 points
For the short answer questions you will define terms taken from a list below in 3-5 sentences. The definition should also include some context for the term. For example, a definition of Kannon would refer to the bodhisattva’s popularity in Tendai Buddhism and/or the Lotus Sutra.
1 essay question: 10 points
The essay question will ask you to draw connections between materials covered in class through Friday, March 1. I will give you three possible prompts and you will choose between two of them on the actual exam. The essay should be between 2-3 handwritten pages (8.5”x11” with no line markings).
Total: 15 points
Short answers, worth 1 point each, will be graded on how accurate and complete the definition is. If the definition is partially correct or partially complete, you will receive .5 point.
The essay will be graded on the following criteria:
accuracy (using terms correctly, identifying the correct time period for different phenomena) – 3 points
completeness (including all 3 examples required in the prompt, and making sure the examples come from different traditions and time periods) – 3 points
analysis (choosing apt points of comparison, drawing connections between materials beyond what has been presented in the readings and lectures) – 4 points
- Explain different positions on morality you see in Kamakura- and Muromachi-era Buddhism. How do these positions relate to what you see in earlier periods of Japanese religious history? Use at least 3 specific examples, 1 of which must be from pre-Kamakura Japan.
- Compare Kamakura- and Muromachi-period Buddhism to Heian-period Buddhism, and make sure to identify both similarities and differences. You should analyze at least 3 specific points of comparison.
- Explain the ways in which Japanese indigenous religion (i.e. “Shinto”) has interacted with Buddhism from the Asuka period through the Kamakura or Muromachi period. Address both the tension and the syncretism that have developed between these traditions. You should give at least 3 different examples, and each should come from a different time period (e.g. 1 from the Asuka period, 1 from the Heian period, and 1 from the Kamakura period).
Short Answer Terms
miko and saniwa
Izanagi and Izanami
Four Noble Truths
suchness (tathata; shinnyo)
skill-in-means (skillful means)
original enlightenment (hongaku)
Diamond- and Womb-Realm mandalas
meditation on the syllable “A”
Pure Land (Jodo-shu)
True Pure Land (Jodo shinshu)
En no Gyoja
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