Dharanis, Medicines and Straw-dolls: Ritual Choreographies and Healing Strategies of the Rokujikyōhō in Medieval Japan

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Abstract

This article proposes a reconstruction and analysis of the rokujikyōhō (Ritual of the six-syllable sutra), a complex healing liturgy that enjoyed great popularity in Japan between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries. Performed by an assembly of Buddhist monks and onmyōji (yin-yang masters), the ritual used various techniques, such as talismans, hitokata, incantations, and medicinal remedies, which provided a comprehensive solution to different types of ailments. In this article I discuss their characteristics, as well as their relationship, to argue that their conflation into a single practice may be underpinned by a layered understanding of the cause and nature of pollution and diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-304
Number of pages50
JournalJapanese Journal of Religious Studies
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2014

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