The A-Z Photo Dictionary: Japanese Buddhist statuary: Gods, Goddesses, Shinto Kami, Creatures and Demons website is an online photo library of over 1,000 images of sculptures and other representations of Buddhist and Shinto deities and related items in Japanese temples and shrines. The majority of the images are from Kamakura, but Kyoto, Nara and other places are also represented. The images can be searched or accessed via an alphabetical index or via a Buddhist deity classification. As well as statues, there are images of rock gardens, stone lanterns, gravestones and other aspects of Japanese temples and shrines. The Bibliography section includes a well-annotated list of books and magazines, as well as many links to online dictionaries and glossaries, museums (online Buddhist art galleries), and other relevant websites. The site is maintained by Mark Schumacher, a long-time resident of Kamakura with a strong interest in Buddhist sculpture and iconography.
This truly superior online collection of citations and bibliographic material has been compiled by Barend J. ter Haar at the University of Leiden. The main introductory page of his Bibliographies on Chinese History and Culture leads to eight different extensive (and usually annotated) bibliographical resources on Chinese society. While this includes references for literacy and education, violence, and protest and dissent, many categories are specifically devoted to religious themes including the Yao religion, Shamanism, and the Falun Gong movement, as well as more general collections on twentieth century religious life and culture in mainland China. The bibliographies are organised in a series of logical sub-divisions, and include details of electronic resources. However, a basic search engine to retrieve references by author or exact subject would be a welcome addition to the site. In any case, undergraduates and academics at all levels who wish to enlarge their knowledge of Chinese secondary sources will find these lists useful, whether they are searching for books or material on the Web. New lecturers may also wish to avail themselves of the Teaching Aids section, which takes the form of an extended annotated exploration of Internet, encyclopaedic and print resources.
The Bibliography of Western Language Publications on Chinese Popular Religion (1995 to present) is an online listing of primarily English journal and book references, addressing a wide variety of geographical and cultural aspects from Oriental belief systems. Compiled by Philip Clart, Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Leipzig, the bibliography started life as a collection of citations taken from his own articles published in the journal 'Minjian zongjiao' (volumes 3-5, 1995-1997). Since then, Clart has continuously added new material to the list of resources to keep it up-to-date. Presently, resources are organised under 20 different subject categories that include topics as diverse as folklore, deities, gender issues, and rituals. These categories include three local studies sections, covering Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the mainland. Separate year-by-year lists are also given for the most recent publications. Unfortunately, the site currently lacks any internal search facility. Despite this, researchers at all levels and in every subset of religious studies in the east are likely to find this resource valuable.
This site, authored and edited by Chad Hansen, contains segments of a wide-ranging interpretation of classical Chinese philosophy that takes Daoism (Taoism) as central to classical Chinese thought. The interpretation turns on a new reading of the Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi that highlights sceptical and relativist themes in his thinking. Hansen's crucial assumption is that Zhuangzi was a philosopher of language. Zhuangzi was deeply engaged with the linguistic insights of the Later Mohists (sometimes called Neo-Mohists or Dialectical Mohists) and the School of Names. This site is a good introduction to Chinese philosophy and offers some interesting interpretative strategies. Hansen is author of, A Daoist Theory of Chinese Thought: A philosophical interpretation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).
The Contemporary Papers on Japanese Religion website is a collection of studies by Japanese academics on various aspects of religion in Japan, translated into English by Norman Havens and made available here online. The papers were originally published in the late 1980s and 1990s by the Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics, Kokugakuin University. Topics include: festivals (matsuri) and rites; new religions; folk beliefs (including shamanism); and kami (deities). The site also provides brief profiles of the Japanese authors, with links to their universities. Full print versions of the papers can be obtained by contacting the Institute via the website.
Echoes of Incense: A Pilgrimage in Japan is a complete online version of the English text of Don Weiss's book of the same title about his walk of the classic Buddhist pilgrimage around the 88 temples of Shikoku in 1993. The text is supplemented with many photos and line drawings of temples and other places, mainly in Shikoku. The Resources page provides some practical information about undertaking the pilgrimage, a short list of useful books, and a well-annotated list of links to other relevant websites.
The Epic of Pabuji is a website which focuses on the Rajasthani folk hero and folk deity. Pabuji's story is told in all-night recitations by itinerant bards who carry enormous cloth scrolls illustrating the story across the desert with them. John Smith, an expert in oral epics, has researched the story, artwork, and performance of the Pabuji epic at length, and this website complements his 1991 book on the same topic. The website is presented as a long essay on one page, enlivened with photos of the 'par', the illustrated scrolls which also function as portable shrines, and the bards dancing and playing their own accompaniment. A link in the text of this one page leads to a synopsis of the story, and for those comfortable with Rajasthani the text of the epic is available for download.
Essential readings on Chinese philosophy is an annotated bibliography of mainly printed books intended for use by experienced philosophers seeking a core reading list. The subject headings include: general histories; specialised studies; Neo/Confucianism; Taoism; Mohism; comparative studies; I Ching; Buddhism; and Chinese science. Where available links are made to websites by or about authors. Annotations vary from short statements to more lengthy paragraphs. The author of the site, Bryan Van Norden, is an assistant professor in the Philosophy Department at Vassar College.
The website From primitives to zen is an online reproduction of the reference work by Mircea Eliade, originally published in print in 1966. While the title of the book hints that the principal focus of the book would be on Buddhism, it is in fact a very large, comprehensive investigation of ancient religions of the world, divided into sections which are geographically based. The omission of Judaism and Christianity is explained in the introduction. The following five chapter headings given on the home page lead to lists of links to further pages. The first of these chapters looks at creation myths from around the world. After this section the emphasis is more strongly on the Ancient Near East, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Zen. This presentation of the book is offered with no further commentary but is rather a faithful reproduction of the original text.
H-Bahai is the website of a moderated discussion list that forms part of the H-Net discussion network for the Humanities and Social Sciences. The focus of H-Bahai is the discussion of 'the culture and history of millenarian and/or esoteric religious traditions originating in modern Iran, such as Shaykhism, Babism, and the Baha'i faith'. In addition to providing access to subscription services and the message log for the discussion list (for subscribers only), the website provides further resources for research and teaching on these religious traditions. These resources include: a comprehensive resource guide on the Baha'i faith useful for planning courses or for background research; a digital publications series; and a digital library. The digital library contains digitised texts (mostly scanned images) of both primary and secondary sources in Arabic, Persian and European languages. An impressive selection of primary sources in Arabic and Persian is available, including the complete works of Baha'u'llah (founder of the Baha'i faith), Abdu'l-Baha (son of Baha'u'llah), Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa'i (founder of Shaykhism) and The Bab (founder of Babism). Some of these works are also available in translation on the website. A clear and easy to use interface leads users to resources appropriate for those with little previous knowledge of these religious traditions and for advanced scholars in search of primary texts.
The H-Buddhism Graduate Programs in Asian Philosophy and Religion Web page, which was created in 1997 by Charles Muller, provides an alphabetical list of institutions around the world that offer postgraduate studies in Asian religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism and Taoism. Each entry contains the name and address of the department; a description of the course(s) it offers; and the names of the primary and affiliated instructors and their areas of speciality. There are also links that take visitors to the home pages of the respective institutions. The site is clearly presented and its contents are updated by the H-Buddhism Web team. The resource should be a very useful starting point for those investigating graduate study in this area.
The International Shinto Foundation (ISF), currently chaired by Akira Nakanishi, was established to support research and scholarship about Shinto, Japan's indigenous religion, which has existed for around 2,500 years. While the English version of this website contains a brief introduction to Shinto practice and development as well as to the Foundation's activities, the bulk of the Japanese version is directed primarily towards academics and researchers who may wish to join the foundation and who are already well acquainted with Shinto history and belief. The ISF's mandate has led to the creation of an annual international symposium, and a series of publications have been generated from these conferences. In addition, a recently established Global Research Fund now supports promising scholarship by Shinto researchers, making this an important resource for all researchers of Japanese religion, culture and history. The Institute publishes a bimonthly newsletter, 'Shinto Forum', the latest issue of which is available on the site. Several areas of the site were under reconstruction at the time of review.
J.B. Hare established the Internet Sacred Text Archive to make public domain religious and mythological texts available to the interested reader. It brings together material collected by the archive itself with a variety of links from other primary resource sites on the Internet to form one of the largest and far reaching electronic text resources available anywhere. With a somewhat eclectic selection in content, the site includes everything from English translations of the sacred texts of African, Australian, and North American indigenous cultures to Eastern, Neo-Pagan and Occult traditions. Judeo-Christian and Islamic resources are also well represented. The archive is still growing, with new texts added on a regular basis. The need to avoid material which is still in copyright means that many of the translations date from over a hundred years ago, but the variety of resources in translation makes the site invaluable to those lacking extensive foreign language skills who wish to rapidly familiarise themselves with a specific tradition. This site is an excellent starting point for anyone who wants to locate an electronic English-language version of a significant religious text from almost any religious tradition.
The Shinto and Japanese religions section of the Internet sacred text archive presents key texts associated with Shinto as well as texts relating to other aspects of Japanese spirituality, beliefs and ethics: Buddhism, Confucianism, animism and folklore. There are also a number of Ainu folklore texts. All are originally written in or translated into English.
The Shinto texts are: the Kojiki (full and abridged translations by Basil Hall Chamberlain); excerpts of the Nihongi (also known as the Nihon Shoki), translated by W.G. Ashton; the Yengishiki (Shinto rituals); and the Kogoshui: Gleanings from Ancient Stories, translated by Kenchi Gotō and Hikoshirō Hoshino.
Texts under the Japanese Spirituality heading include: several books by Lafcadio Hearn (ghost stories and a history of Shinto); books by Kazuko Okakura on the tea ceremony and Japanese art and Buddhism; Inoze Nitobe's book on bushido, the samurai ethical code; Arthur Waley's translation of Noh plays; fairy tales; a collection of haiku; and the Hyakunin Isshū collection of tanka poetry.
The Ainu texts are: transations of folk tales by Basil Hall Chamberlain and John Batchelor; Yukara, epos of the Ainu; and Arthur Waley's translation of the epic Kutune Shirka.
The website of the Ise Jingū (Ise Shrines) provides detailed information about and images of these most sacred of Japanese Shinto shrines. Guides to the Geku (Outer Shrine) and the Naiku (Inner Shrine) include maps and photos, and there are schedules and descriptions of the many ceremonies and festivals that take place here. Background information on the kami (deities) and Japanese mythology and on the relationship between Shinto and nature places the Shrines in their cultural context. The Ise Jingū complex also houses three museums (of history, agriculture and fine arts) and a library, and these are described briefly in the Cultural Facilities section, with links to their websites. The site can be accessed in parallel English, Japanese, Chinese and Korean versions and will be useful for teaching rather than in-depth research. The Japanese version of an animated introduction aimed at children might be useful language practice for language learners.
The Japanese Journal of Religious Studies is an academic journal devoted to the study of Japanese religions. The journal's website offers open access to the essays and books reviews published since its inception in 1974; these are available for download in PDF format. The back issues are fully searchable and well indexed. Also available are its submission policy and subscription details for the print version of the work. The journal currently appears twice yearly, published by the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture. Links are provided to the Institute's and Nanzan University's home pages.
This is the website of the Jinja Honchō, the Association of Shinto Shrines, which administers about 80,000 shrines throughout Japan. The site presents a wealth of information about Shinto beliefs, rituals and traditions in English and Japanese versions, the latter also providing details of all the member shrines, and is a valuable resource for researchers and students alike.
The English version provides: an outline of the history and role of the Association; and several short and longer articles on various aspects of Shinto, Japan's indigenous religion. These cover: links between Shinto and nature, agriculture and Japanese mythology; festivals (matsuri); shrines; ancestral spirits and the Yasukuni Shrine; kami (deities); ancestor worship, ancestral spirits and the afterlife; ethics; the importance of forests in Japan and in other cultures; priests; worship and rituals; rites of passage; and different sects of Shinto, including folk Shinto.
The Japanese version also gives background information on the religion and its practises, but aimed at a Japanese audience. Thus there are: explanations of different categories of shrines; aspects of worship (fortunes (omikuji), votive tablets (ema), offerings, paper-draped sacred sakaki branches (tamagushi), and the formal expressions written on slips to accompany offerings); introductions to particular deities and shrines associated with them; and festivals and rituals. A section on worship has video clips of how to perform rituals such as handwashing, offerings, and etiquette. This section also has a calendar of Shinto festivals with brief explanations. Another section tells Japanese myths using text and soundfiles; this could be used in language teaching. Finally, a database of member shrines can be searched via a map or postcode; however, the Japanese characters did not display properly at the time of cataloguing. The homepage and the Japanese pages take a little time to download, but it is worth being patient.
This website is the result of David Turkington's Pilgrimage to the 88 Sacred Places of Shikoku. It presents detailed accounts, with pictures, of his 1999 walk around the island and subsequent revisitings of sections of the route. A large amount of background information and a wealth of practical advice about undertaking the pilgrimage, including maps, give the site a much broader value. There are sections on: the history of the pilgrimage; Kōbō Daishi (Kūkai) (founder of the Shingon sect, born on Shikoku); temple information; the Heart sutra; a glossary; and books and papers (a comprehensive and well-annotated bibliography). The site also has a substantial section of annotated links to other websites, including video clips.
Religion Compass (ISSN: 1749-8171) is an online journal dedicated to original peer-reviewed surveys of research and other works from across the discipline. Published by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing and edited by Tamara Sonn, the resource is targeted at teachers, researchers and students of religion, as well as non-specialist scholars. The materials can be browsed according to Authors' names and the following section themes: African Religions; Ancient Near East; Buddhism; Chinese and Japanese Traditions; Christianity; Indian Traditions; Islam; Judaism; New Religions; Native Religions of the Americas; and Theory and Method. Although subscription is needed to access the materials in full, this website makes available their abstract alongside information about the journal's editorial board.
Religion in South Asia is a section of the American academy of religion whose aim is to promote the academic study of religions around the world. The website of the organisation offers users a number of resources - mailing lists, membership details, notices about forthcoming meetings, lists of publications, a few of which are available in full text on the site. There are also pages with bibliographies of South Asian religions and others which give access to a wide range of teaching resources. The links page is useful, but unfortunately the page which promises to be the most interesting, promising video and multimedia resources, does not open. This site is quite useful - more so for the specialist than the interested researcher - but it is in need of some design work and a test of the links.
The Shinto Online Network Association is a voluntary organisation that promotes understanding of the Shinto religion and Japanese tradition. Its website is maintained by Shinto priests affiliated to the Association of Shinto Shrines (Jinja Honchō). The English version of the site serves as a useful introduction to Shinto, but the Japanese version (accessed via a link on the English home page) has far more information that will be of use to serious researchers.
The English version is divided into three broad sections: What is Shinto? (a detailed description of the indigenous Japanese folk religion, its development and different forms); Civilization of the Divine Forest (a discussion of Shinto's links with the forest and of the role of trees and forests in other ancient religions); and the Shinto Forum, a discussion forum for academics and others interested in Shinto, which requires (free) registration.
One of the most valuable features of the Japanese version is a searchable database of links to dozens of websites of individual shrines arranged by geographical location.; and there is also a page of links to shrine blogs. Online articles from the Association on current topics are archived on the site, and special articles on particular aspects of Shinto, for example, the New Year shrine visit, also appear. A calendar of festivals at shrines throughout the country is another useful feature of the Japanese version.
The Society for the Study of Japanese Religions (SSJR) is an international academic association affiliated with the Association of Asian Studies (AAS), and its website provides information on its activities and publications, as well as links to online teaching resources and other relevant sites. The Society's annual forum is held as part of the AAS conference, and the full presentations given at the forums are published in annual Supplements that can be downloaded in PDF format from this site. The biannual Bulletins (newsletters) can also be downloaded. The Announcements section includes details of: forthcoming conferences and exhibitions; research grants and fellowships; and job vacancies. Although there is a bias to the USA, where the Society is based, the information in this section will be of more general interest too.
The Teaching Resources section consists mainly of links to other sites for video resources, the American Academy of Religion (AAR) Syllabi Project, and other online resources. However, there is also a useful photo library of temples, shrines, Buddhist statues and festivals. The Links Related to Japanese Religions section includes Japan-related journals and more general sites on Japanese society and culture, as well as religion-specific sites; the links are well annotated.
This website contains a searchable database of images, which focuses on South Indian cultural and religious faiths. The database is the outcome of work undertaken by Revd Dr Paul M. Collins at the University of Chichester, who conducted research in South India into cultural and religious practices. In particular, the database is "offered as a resource for those interested in the inculturation of Christian worship and buildings. It will also be useful for any whose interest lies in understanding more fully the rich cultural context of South India both historic and contemporary." The database is searchable by keyword, as well as browsable by categories including: Hindu temples; Indian culture; inter-religious buildings; Jain temples; Jewish synagogues; Muslim mosques; orthodox Christian tradition; palaces; Protestant traditions; Roman Catholic Latin tradition; secular architecture; and St Thomas Christian tradition. The project was supported by a research grant from the British Academy.