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Deus in MachinaReligion, Technology, and the Things in Between$
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Jeremy Stolow

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823249800

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823249800.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

An Empowered World

An Empowered World

Buddhist Medicine and the Potency of Prayer in Japan

Chapter:
(p.117) An Empowered World
Source:
Deus in Machina
Author(s):

Jason Ānanda Josephson

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823249800.003.0006

Beginning with a Shinto temple dedicated to Kompira as the God of Astronauts, this chapter casts doubts on the classical narrative of disenchantment and confronts hackneyed accounts of the conflicts between religion and science, or magic and modernity. The author demonstrates that in pre-modern Japan, before the contemporary demarcation of an autonomous sphere of “religion,” Buddhism was understood as medicine and empowered prayer was an important therapeutic technology. By tracing the history of Japanese ritual medical technae (kaji kitō) from the seventeenth century to the present, the author problematizes the received assumption that the religio-spiritual is otherworldly or non-instrumental and therefore stands in opposition to the instrumental-technological. Nevertheless, he demonstrates that Japanese modernity produced a position for the empowered world such that it can only supplement and never supplant the mechanical cosmos.

Keywords:   Buddhism, Medicine, history of, Japan, Disenchantment, Magic, kaji kitō

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