By William R. LaFleur

ISBN-10: 0691029652

ISBN-13: 9780691029658

Why might a rustic strongly encouraged by means of Buddhism's reverence for all times let legalized, generic abortion? both confusing to many Westerners is the japanese perform of mizuko rites, within which the oldsters of aborted fetuses pray for the healthiness of those rejected "lives." during this provocative research, William LaFleur examines abortion as a window at the tradition and ethics of Japan. whilst he contributes to the Western debate on abortion, exploring how the japanese get to the bottom of their conflicting feelings privately and stay away from the pro-life/pro-choice politics that sharply divide american citizens at the factor.

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Extra resources for Liquid Life: Abortion and Buddhism in Japan

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Or at least the religious path as they understood it-was un~onnected to fecundity and reproductivity. This disengagement of religion from reproductivity was a large step. Two and a_ half millennia ago in India it was one of the things that gave a deftnite- but somewhat unusual shape to Buddhism. " On the other hand, as we shall see, even this degree of diffidence about reproductivity was something that, for better or worse, entered into Japanese historywith an impact on the development of thinking about issues like abortion.

They stirred the brine with a churning-churning sound; and when they lifted up [the spear] again, the brine dripping down from the tip of the spear piled up and became an island. 21 Thus the land, the world-and as such, the formedness of reality for humankind-came to be. If the sea is the source of life, it can also be its receptacle. children are properly returned to the sea. The great paradigm for this, of course, is the leech-child, one who according to some accounts was recognized as unfit for continued life because three years after being born it still could not walk.

But to grasp the thinking here we need to take the parts out of the ritual package and look at them. And in doing so, it is hoped, we can get closer to what is going on here. ORIGINAL FIRE One aspect of the action at Nembutsu-ji Temple-ablution-is easily accounted for. It has deep roots in Asian Buddhist ways of doing things. Going back to Buddhist origins in India, we find that the practice of pouring water over the images of Buddhas and other revered figures was known as argha. The ritual, simple and basic, was widely accepted in lands into which Buddhism penetrated.

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Liquid Life: Abortion and Buddhism in Japan by William R. LaFleur


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