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

 Center for Japanese Studies (CJS), Center for Buddhist Studies, Otani University, Ryukoku University, BCA Center for Buddhist Education, Institute of Buddhist Studies, Shinshu Center of America

In this lecture, Natsume Sōseki’s 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., 510-642-3415