Dear members and friends of the Fellowship,
We trust you have been well, but especially those of us who are older (or with health problems/susceptible family members ) will be very cautious about resuming travel and meetings even though Tokyo is loosening restrictions and schools have resumed here in Shinjuku and Minato-ku.
UFT on Sunday June 14 (3:00 to 5:00) will meet online with a Zoom meeting.
☆Please contact Peggy Kanada or Chuck Olson or Jeffrey Bruce for Zoom details☆
June Speaker: Dominick Scarangello (scholar and translator of Buddhist texts and commentaries)
Topic: Ontaki Mountain Religion: the largest Japanese religious movement you may not have heard much about.
Mt. Ontaki is a volcanic peak in the Alps of Nagano (about 5 hours from Tokyo by road or train thru Yamanashi into Nagano and beyond Matsumoto). It is the center of a religious movement or cult (御嶽信仰) where tens of thousands of men and women still make annual pilgrimages every summer in groups or confraternities mostly from central Japan (Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu, Nagano prefectures). On any summer day while traveling on the Chuo expressway you might see tourist buses full of people wearing white ceremonial religious clothes.
As Dominick writes it is interesting to explore its inception and development from the mid-Edo period because Ontake illustrates changes in the faith and practices of ordinary people over the past several hundred years of modernization, while showing how shamanistic traditions of Japanese religion are still alive in the 21st century.
Dominick Scarangello has joined us at Fellowship and spoken to us before.
He obtained his PhD from the University of Virginia in 2012. His interests include Lotus Sutra Buddhism in East Asia, Japanese religions, and religion and modernity. Dr. Scarangello has taught at the University of Virginia and was the Postdoctoral Scholar in Japanese Buddhism at the University of California, Berkeley (2013-14). Presently, he is the International Advisor to Rissho Kosei-kai and coordinator of the International Lotus Sutra Seminar.
Our member Jeffrey (Jeff) Bruce (Prof.at Aoyama Univ) spoke last month (May) about Greek Mythology and its continuing influences in our modern world. There were several interesting discussion questions.
Sadly we failed to record most of the afternoon to send out to those who requested it. We will try again to record in June!
Jeff told us how the Greeks gave the world a religion like no others that came before or came later. For the Greeks, the gods were entirely human in their appearance and behavior in both good and bad ways. They had every fault and every attribute of humans. They lived in generations and fought with their parents. They married and were either faithful or had affairs as their hearts and minds led them. They were more powerful than humans, but not better.
Through three myths, we learned of the ways of the gods. Persephone was carried off by Hades to the underworld and thus triggered endless cold and crop failure when Demeter became distraught. The settlement through Zeus between Demeter and Hades gave us the seasons. Echo and Narcissus showed us hopeless love and self-absorbed rejection. The judgment of Paris was the background to the Trojan War when goddesses offered favors in a struggle of three rivals. The Greeks favored complex stories without any clear position of good or evil. Each god and each human could show both and as the stories unfolded a variety of lessons could be learned.Peggy Kanada, moderator