Literary Representations of Buddhist Funerals
Colloquium | March 2 | 5-6:30 p.m. | Jodo Shinshu Center
2140 Durant Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704
Michihiro Ama, University of Montana
Mark Blum, UC Berkeley
In this lecture, Natsume Sōsekis The Miner and A Rainy Day in To the Spring Equinox and Beyond are treated as works of path literature. During the Buddhist funerals, periods of transition in the lives of the literary characters and new sensations regarding life and death are identified through the connection of the term path as a synonym for passage. The funerals lead the fictional characters to reflect on their existence and the Buddhist funeral fictionalized in A Rainy Day was also cathartic for Sōseki himself. The lecture is based on my forthcoming book titled, The Awakening of Modern Japanese Fiction: Path Literature and An Interpretation of Buddhism, which aims to extract unrecognized Buddhist elements from the disciplinary divide between modern Japanese literary studies and Buddhist studies.