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Title: Doctrinal accommodations in Buddhist-Muslim relations with special reference to contemporary Japan
Author: Obuse, Kieko
ISNI:       0000 0003 6668 3900
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis examines the diverse ways in which Buddhist-Muslim perceptions are informed by their relations. It first discusses them in the global context, and then explores them further in the Japanese context. From a diachronic perspective, it shows that, unlike in former times, contemporary Buddhists and Muslims attempt to accommodate each other's traditions with a clear agenda, often to enhance their relations. From a synchronic perspective, it argues that elaborate doctrinal discussions aiming to accommodate religious others are employed more widely outside regions in which Buddhist-Muslim coexistence has been long-standing. It suggests this may be due to these regions having practical communal problems to address. This trend is reflected most significantly in Muslim recognition of the historical Buddha as a prophet and Buddhist comparison of Allah with Buddhist notions of the ultimate truth. In regions where Buddhist-Muslim coexistence has been long-standing, Muslims often recognise the Buddha's prophethood without discussing how and why, as a means to enhance communal relations, while Buddhists tend to emphasise the universality of all religious teachings. Outside such regions, Muslims argue for the Buddha's prophethood by 'proving' that he taught monotheism, or accept it simply based on shared ethics. Both show their commitment to Islamic doctrines and that they have a sense of Buddhists as theologically relevant in today's globalised world. Regarding Buddhists, some scholars with global careers compare Allah with the Dharma or emptiness or Adi Buddha, in order to enhance inter-religious harmony on a global scale. Similar trends are found in contemporary Japan, where Buddhist-Muslim relations are generally free from communal problems. Japanese converts to Islam are keen to explore how they can accommodate Buddhists doctrinally, given their need to stay connected with the predominant religion of their native country. However, they decide against the Buddha's prophethood, since they see no scriptural evidence that he taught monotheism. This reflects the strong commitment such converts have to Islamic teachings. Regarding Japanese Buddhists, Jodo-shin Buddhists, given their focus on Amida Buddha as a saviour, are more willing to draw parallels between Allah and emptiness or Amida Buddha than Zen Buddhists. Overall, however, those Buddhists who have extensive contact with Muslims and/or inter-religious experience show more interest in relating to Islam doctrinally, thus enhancing their relations with Muslims.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available