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Grant number like: FT-57062-09

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Mark Michael Rowe
McMaster University (Ontario, Canada)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2009 – 7/31/2009

Biographies of Non-Eminent Monks: Temple Realities of Contemporary Japanese Buddhist Priests

Despite the fact there are currently over 300,000 officially certified Buddhist priests in Japan, there has hardly been any significant scholarly research into their lives and training. What are their backgrounds? How are they trained? How do they mediate between the doctrinal ideals of their particular traditions and the real-world needs of parishioners? How do they view the current state of Japanese Buddhism? The proposed project seeks to answer these questions. The bulk of this ten-week summer project will consist of in-depth interviews with 14-18 temple priests (male and female) representing the seven major Japanese Buddhist sects. In addition to choosing temples that represent different regions as well as demographic and economic realities, I will also take care to include a representative sampling of career trajectories. This project will lay the groundwork for the first comprehensive study of the contemporary training, education, and daily realities of Buddhist priests in Japan.