Buddhism comes in many forms, but in Japan it stands apart from all the rest in one most striking way—the monks get married. In Neither Monk nor Layman: Clerical Marriage in Modern Japanese Buddhism, the most comprehensive study of this topic in any language, Richard M. Jaffe addresses the emergence of an openly married clergy as a momentous change in the history of modern Japanese Buddhism. He demonstrates, in clear and engaging prose, that this shift was not an easy one for Japanese Buddhists. Yet the transformation that began in the early Meiji period (1868–1912)—when monks were ordered by government authorities to marry, to have children, and to eat meat—today extends to all the country’s Buddhist denominations.
“First-rate. Jaffe’s research is utterly original; virtually none of the issues covered have been seriously investigated in any other Western-language study, and there are precious few Japanese secondary studies in the area. The book is well organized, well balanced, and a delight to read.” —Robert Sharf, University of California, Berkeley
August 2010 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3527-9 / $25.00 (PAPER)