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Zen Buddhists

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Chapter Summary

Categorizing and generalizing are legitimate and necessary operations within all academic disciplines. Making typologies of persons and kinds of Zen Buddhists is a way to comprehend the diversity and complexity of religious agency. The Zen clergy, including monks, nuns, priest wives, and sons, is a very important part of the religious world that constitutes and upholds living Zen Buddhism in Japan. Though the founder of the Rinzai lineage Linji is known for his abovementioned paradigmatic expression of the true man having no rank, rank and hierarchy is very much part of living Japanese Buddhism. The persecutions of Buddhist priests and destructions of temples during the Meiji era did affect the Zen clergy enormously, though the temple inheritance system has guaranteed some stability and even rise in the number of priests since then.

Keywords: Buddhist priests; Japan; Zen Buddhists; Zen clergy



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