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Beyond the Mushroom CloudCommemoration, Religion, and Responsibility after Hiroshima$
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Yuki Miyamoto

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823240500

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823240500.001.0001

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Beyond Good and Evil

Beyond Good and Evil

kōji shigenobu and the true pure land understanding of the atomic bombing

(p.81) 3 Beyond Good and Evil
Beyond the Mushroom Cloud

Yuki Miyamoto

Fordham University Press

This chapter explores a Buddhist interpretation of the bombing: the approach of True Pure Land Buddhism (or Shin Buddhism). Hiroshima is characterized by its large population of True Pure Land adherents; approximately 80 percent of the city's residents belong to this sect. Focusing on True Pure Land priest kōji Shigenobu's interpretation of the bombing, I examine the way in which this Buddhist understanding of the bomb aids believers' attempts to understand what is otherwise an incomprehensible act of violence. Offering a basic understanding of the school's founder Shinran's thoughts, I argue that embracing critical self-reflection in this school assuaged the inclination toward retaliation. Recognition of one's helplessness and complete entrustment of oneself to Amida Buddha also calls into question the very concept of moral accountability in case of human-made tragedy, as this gives rise to a critical question in discussing the actual Japanese atrocities, such as Unit 731, Comfort Women, Nanjing Massacres, and so on. The discussion in this section will frame the examination of moral accountability in the last chapter.

Keywords:   kōji Shigenobu, True Pure Land Buddhism, Shinran, Amida Buddha, errors

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