UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Astronomy and Calendrical Science in Early Mikkyō in Japan: Challenges and Adaptations Kotyk, Jeffrey


This study examines the use, adaptation, modification and omission of astronomical and calendrical elements in early Japanese Mikkyō (ninth century) in large part from the perspective of exact sciences. Shingon and Tendai inherited a Sinicized system of Indian astrology from their respective beginnings, but the significance of this fact in the study of Japanese religions is underrecognized despite the reality that astrology was both studied and technically required in Mikkyō. This study will examine how Mikkyō negotiated the demand for orthopraxical use of Indian models with the contingent realities of only possessing in practice a Chinese calendar and system of observational astronomy. Japanese monks were compelled to observe Indian astrology according to their own scriptures, which by extension necessitated knowledge of Indian astronomy, but substitutions and omissions had to be made in the absence of the required resources and knowledge.

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