Priest’s Bars: 'Bad Buddhism' Creating Good Karma

Tuesday, October 20 11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

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For an example of what has been called "Bad Buddhisms" in the contemporary world, one need look no further than urban Japan and its numerous "Priests' Bars" which encourage a heady interaction of Buddhism and alcohol. Priests in charge are well aware of the official Buddhist prohibition against alcohol, and yet, given a variety of social problems facing Japanese workers and citizens, are compelled to experiment in delivering the teachings of their traditions.   Join USF Professor John Nelson as we explore a new type of "skillful means" for moving Japanese Buddhisms into the twenty-first century.  
John Nelson is Professor of East Asian Religions and Asian Studies at USF.  He just completed a six-year appointment as Academic Director for the M.A. Program in Asia Pacific Studies.  He is a cultural anthropologist whose most recent book, Experimental Buddhism: Innovation and Activism in Contemporary Japan, was co-winner of the 2014 Numata Prize for "outstanding book in Buddhist studies".  He is also the author of two other book-length ethnographies (A Year in the Life of a Shinto Shrine, 1996 and Engaging Identities: the Guise of Shinto in Contemporary Japan, 2000), co-editor of a research volume on Contemporary Japanese Religions (2012), two documentary films, and numerous academic articles.