Buddhism and Christianity in Japan: From Conflict to by Notto R. Thelle

By Notto R. Thelle

Publication by means of Thelle, Notto R.

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Example text

Chinese translations of Western books on geography, history, and science were used as prominent tools for propagation.  In fact, it corresponded to a great extent to the methods and the theological outlook of the Christian propagators. "8 Such expressions certainly did not sound as belligerent in nineteenth­century missionary Page 39 ears as their literal meanings suggest, and they were easily combined with more peaceful words such as those about "the joy of the reaper in the day of harvest"; 9 nevertheless, they certainly implied expectations of a spiritual warfare with conflicting religions and ideologies.

They had a number of reasons for ignoring it.  The exaggerated antagonism against Christianity only emphasized the desperate situation of Buddhism.  The anti­Buddhist ideas of Confucian and Shinto scholars were transformed into an official policy of religion, according to which Buddhist doctrines were almost relegated to oblivion.

Courtesy of University of Tokyo Press.  Compromise seemed impossible. 54 Nevertheless, similar studies were pursued with great zeal during the rest of the century.  The first Buddhist delegation was sent to Europe as early as 1872; since such travels represented a new trend, however, they will more appropriately be dealt with in the examination of Buddhist­Christian relations after 1873.  They will be led astray by the heresy and become a [rebellious] band of brutes. 60 Even Fukuda Gyokai*, who distinguished sharply between secu­ Page 31 lar and religious concerns, argued that the "Imperial Way" and the "Ways of Confucius and Buddha" were as intimately related as warp and woof, beginning and end.

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