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Title: Situating the Myōan Kyōkai : a study of Suizen and the Fuke shakuhachi
Author: Mau, Christian Theodore
ISNI:       0000 0004 5348 0474
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis examines the activities of the Myōan Kyōkai, which is based at Myōan Temple in Kyoto Japan. It identifies the Myōan Kyōkai as a community and examines the contexts in which members pursue their activities, which are all centred around the shakuhachi, a Japanese end-blown bamboo flute. The shakuhachi itself is most often associated with the Fuke sect of Zen Buddhism and its monks/priests of 'emptiness and nothingness' (Komusō). After almost two centuries of holding a virtual monopoly of the instrument, the sect was proscribed by the Japanese government in 1871. Of the sect's three main temples, only one (Myōan Temple) survives, albeit by necessity in a somewhat modified form. Research questions revolve around the theme of community. What factors contribute to forming the Myōan Kyōkai into a community and then what sustains it as a community? This study identifies three interdependent components that each play some part in defining the Myōan Kyōkai as a community: music, history, and religion. Given that the shakuhachi continues to have such strong links to Zen Buddhism, it has seen contextual changes that often include the concert stage or see it performed in recital-type situations. This thesis seeks to situate the shakuhachi within this larger context back into its original settings in order to illuminate the use of the shakuhachi in an organised and institutionalised form as currently practiced in a Zen temple.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral