Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

4 - Re-Creating “Tenjiku” (Buddhaland) : Imaginations of India in the Trans-Nationalism and Pacifism of Japanese Buddhism

Saturday, July 7
10:20 AM - 11:50 AM
Location: Willow, First Floor

This paper will discuss how the imaginations of India by Japanese Buddhists were transformed or reconstructed by their experiences in India and how it has influenced the Buddhist ideologies related to nationalism, pan-Asianism, pacifism etc. In 1930, Fuji Nichidatsu, a monk of  Nipponzan Myohoji, a Japanese Buddhist organization, arrived in India and was applaud to see the dilapidated conditions of Buddhist sites in India. He associated the decline of Buddhism in India with the colonization of India; met Gandhi in 1933 and got involved in the non-violent freedom struggle movement led by Gandhi. In the post-Independence era, the foreign policy of India, influenced by Nehru’s vision of Buddhist Asianism, initiated “Buddhist diplomacy” as part of its Look East Policy. In 1956, the International Buddhist conference was held to celebrate 2500 years of Buddha‘s birth anniversary and many Buddhist leaders from Japan, including Fuji Nichidatsu, attended this conference. During the Vietnam war, several peace conferences and anti-war movements were jointly organized by Japanese and Indian Buddhists. In response to the call by the Indian government to develop Bodhgaya as an International Buddhist city, many Buddhist countries have established temples and monasteries in the areas surrounding the Mahabodhi temple. The Japanese temple, named Indosan Nipponji, was built in Bodhgaya in 1973, under the sponsorship of the International Buddhist Brotherhood Association of Japan. Another Buddhist organization of Japan called Daijyokyo has also built a temple and a larger status of Lord Buddha, which is now a landmark of Bodhgaya.

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4 - Re-Creating “Tenjiku” (Buddhaland) : Imaginations of India in the Trans-Nationalism and Pacifism of Japanese Buddhism



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