2002 Japan Trip


This course introduces students to Japanese Buddhism with a particular emphasis on Zen, Shingon, and, Pure Land Buddhism. It explores the relationship of Japanese Buddhism with other religious traditions of Japan such as Shintoism, Taoism, and Christianity as well as its influence on Japanese culture. The primary teaching method is experiential. The course entails a 3-week tripto Japan (Kyoto, Mt. Koya, Shikoku, Nagasaki, and Tosu~ity). In Kyoto, students will visit Temples, have instructions by a Zen abbot, participate in tea ceremony, meet with Professor Jeff Shore of Hanazono University, and participate in the monastic life of the International Zen Center (Kokusal Zendo). On Mt. Koya and on Shikoku, the students will encounter and experience the monastic and popular forms of Shingon Buddhism; in Nagasaki students will explore an "inside perspective" on Japanese culture through homestays and interaction with Japanese students. tn Tosu-city, we will he guests of the Kyushu Ryukoku Junior College, a College of True Pure Land Buddhism. In addition to this experiential dimension, the course will familiarize students with the history, scriptures and beliefs of these Japanese Buddhism through readings from primary texts, lectures, videos, and class discussions. It will firther analyze the Buddhist response to general topics and problems, such as the absolute, the notion of self, the problem of human existence, as well as soteriological and ethical issues. Even though the course will utilize a number of different approaches, priority will be given to a textual and conceptual methodology.


It is the philosophy of the course that learning is a dialogical process and has to include some experiential dimension. This course will teach Japanese Buddhism primarily through the interaction of students with Buddhist monks and the encounter and exploration of Buddhist art and culture. Students are encouraged to apply the content of class discussions and lectures to their sightseeing activities as well as to the encounter of Japanese Buddhism in practice and personal interaction. Finally, the course wrn emphasize a critical reflection of these experiences and the learning process in form of a Journal and the in-depth exploration of an individual topic. While the course does not presuppose any prior knowledge of the intellectual heritage, history, and languages of the South and East Asian religious traditions, it will demand a certain commitment, openness, and mental effort to explore "new" ideas and to think through a variety of world views and responses to existential questions. It also requires a sense that for the time of the trip we will be both ambassadors of Luther College and guests of various universities, temples, and individuals. Appropriate behavior is required.


The course will combine lectures, group work, class discussions, individual projects, and experiential learning techniques to investigate the basic scriptures, concepts, and practices of Japanese Buddhism. In particular, the course will contain four major pedagogical methods. First, it will use the lecture format to introduce students to the basic historical development and conceptual framework of Buddhism. Second, it will explore the course texts through a critical reading and group discussions. TIlird, students will explore Buddhist culture, practices, and art through visits to temples and holy sites as well as through participation in meditation and dharma talks. Finally, students will explore one particular aspect of Japanese Buddhism in a personal project.


  1. Students will exhibit an appreciation of the diversity, wealth, and profundity of Japanese Buddhism.
  2. Students will exhibit a familiarity with the fundamental texts, concepts, beliefs, and practices of Japanese Buddhism.
  3. Students will exhibit a basic understanding of the ethical and soteriological issues within Japanese Buddhism.
  4. Students will exhibit a basic appreciation and understanding of the role religion - especially Buddhism -plays in Japanese culture.
  5. The students will improve their skills in critical thinking, reading proficiency, and oral presentation.


Due to the nature of this course there are additional guidelines for this course:

  1. We will be guest of the Japanese people in general and Daitokuji, Hosshinji, the International Zen Center, Hanazono University, Mt. Hiei. Mt. Koya, Nagasaki Junior College for International Languages, Kyushu Ryukoku Junior College, and the host-families in particular. Thus, it is pivotal that we obey the Japanese laws (Japan has zero tolerance of drugs and guns) and are courteous to our hosts and their sensibilities. The violation of the Japanese law can lead to dismissal from the course after consultation with Luther College.
  2. While we are in Japan, we will be representatives of the U.S A. and Luther College. The actions of the individual will reflect not only on Luther College but also on us as a group.
  3. While traveling, it is the responsibility of the instructor to make all the necessary reservations and to communicate the necessary information to the students. However, it is the responsibility of the students to be on time and to follow the instructions. In a foreign country, you cannot afford to underestimate the time required to reach a rendezvous-point in order to catch a train, bus, or to participate in a scheduled event. Especially when traveling the group cannot wait for individuals who are late.
  4. While the course encourages individual initiative and leaves room for individual explorations of Kyoto and Nagasaki, it is pivotal not to forget that we travel as and constitute a group and thus have obligations toward this group and every individual participant.
  5. If you have any questions regarding the organization of the trip, the course, the work load. the Japanese language, or cultural codes of Japan, feel flee to consult the instructor.


Kyoto Kyoiku Bunka Senta; phone 075-7714221; Fax: 075-771-4224

[from the U.S A. the numbers are 011-81-75-771-4221; and 011-81-75-7714224, respectively. In general, I suggest that you call your family and friends rather than vice versa, since you cannot expect the person at the reception desk to speak English or to find you at any given time. Of course in EMERGENCIES this would be o~. Do not forget that these phone calls will be expensive and that the time difference between Japan and the Midwest is 14 hours - Japan is 14 hours ahead]. The best time to have your family contact you is when we are in Nagasaki.

In case of an EMERGENCY in Kyoto (but only then) you can contact Professor Jeff Shore: office: (075) 811-5181; residence (075)531-6186.

International Zendo~: Inukai, Sogabe-cho, Kameoka, Kyoto-Ken 621. Phone (0771-23- 1784); Fax: (0771-24-0152). From America: 011-81-771-23-1784 and 011-81-771-24-0152.

[Do not have your family call here (this is a monastery); in emergency, a fax is more appropriate] 01/19-01/21: Mt. Ko~ya (east of Osaka), phone: 0736-56-2233; fax: 0736-564743. [Do not have your family call here (this is a monastery); in emergency, a fax is more appropriate]

Pilgrimage on Shikoku

At Gorakuji (phone: 0886-89-1112);

At Morimotoya (phone: 0886-72-3568);

At Yamamotoya Honshuku (phone: 0887-62-2060); the former two are just north-west of Tokushima, the latter one is in Zentsi~jishi near Takamatsu.

Homestays in Nagasaki: Our hosts are the Nagasaki Junior College of Foreign Languages, College Hill, Togitsu-Cho, Nagasaki, 851-21

The contact persons are:

Kyoko Kiyama (director of the homestay program: (0958)40-2006, [email protected]
Mark Tiedemann (director of the Japan Studies in Nagasaki Program): (0958)40-2000
fax (095) 840-2206, [email protected], home: 81-959-250213

We will be staying at the Baikooen; phone: 0942-39-2345; fax: 0942-82-8411

Our hosts are: Kyushu Ryukoku Junior College; phone 0942-85-1121; fax: 0942-82-8411
Professor Nobuyoshi Yamabe; phone: 0942-84-7378


Thomas Kasulis: Zen Action - Zen Person
Kiyohiro Miura: He's Leaving Home
Taitetsu Unno (transl): Tannisho
Ian Reader: Practically Religious


  • Active participation in all events listed in the schedule (33 percent of course grade)
  • Journal (running commentary to readings, featuring questions about the text, summary of main points, and creative reflection of the material) (33 percent of course grade). Journal assignments are due, the day we discuss the respective readings.
  • Individual project (33 percent of course grade)


1. Kamakura period: Mike
2. Zen and tea (D.T. Suzuki: Zen and Japanese Culture): Dan
3. Nishida Kitaro (The fundamental problems of Philosophy): Lucy
4. Shingon mandalas: Heather
5. Martial Arts (Takuan: the unfettered Mind): Anika
6. Zen meditation: (Bielefeld: Dogen's manuals of zen meditation): Scott
7. Architecture and Buddha statues: Angela
8. Role of Dejima during Tokugawa period: Josh
9. Shintoism (The way of the Kami): Morgan
10. New Religious Movements (Prophets of Peace: Pacifism and Cultural Identiy in Japan's New Religions by Robert J. Kisala): Nicola
11. Hidden Christians (Endo Shusaku's "Silences"): Mary
12. Nishida Kitaro (nihon Bunka no Mondai): Shizuka
13. Saicho (Saicho: The Establishment of the Japanese Tendai School by Paul Groner): Aaron
14. Kukai (Hakeda's Kukai: Major Works): Robbie
13. The role of genze riyaku in popular Buddhism (second half of Reader's/Tanabe's book): Rachel


1. every journal entry should be at least 1 page standard size (handwritten)
2. the journals are supposed to contain critical reflection of the reading and its application (if possible) to our daily activities
3. every journal entry must contain a minnimum of one quote plus interpretation and two major ideas of the text and one question concerning the text.
4. Assuming that the reflection paper fulfills these requirements, following criteria apply:

summary of the sources: C
presentation of an idea/concept or historical event/persons: B
development of an idea or insight from your reflection: A


Questions to be answered:

1. What is the topic of your essay?
2. How does this essay fit into the present class discussion? How does its topic relate to the other presentations and to the lectures?
3. What did you learn about Buddhism?
4. How does it relate to our class discussions?
5. What aspect of Buddhism (we talked about) does it integrate?
6. What are the conceptual, ethical, and soteriological dimensions of this essay?

Grading of the presentation:

I am basically looking for three criteria (3 out of 3: A, 2 out of 3: B, 1 out of 3: C)
        content: Is the material presented coherently, intellegibly, and sufficiently?
        context: Does it become clear why this text is important for our class (in our case the texts mostly describe historical and cultural expressions of Buddhism)?
        concept: What ideas, names, practices, etc. does the text add to our discussion of Buddhism?

for your presentation:

1. Be aware that your audience might not know the topic or content of your presentation.
2. Give your presentation a clear structure.
3. Make connections to the primary texts (sourcebook) discussed in class.
4. If necessary, look up terms, names, and explain historical and conceptual background.


Preliminary Preparations:

For the trip you need passport, ISID, and travel money. You should be able to get along with $500-600 (minimum - it does not hurt to carry more money than you need). The best way of carrying the money is in traveler's cheques in dollar or, if you have the opportunity to exchange money, in Yen. While traveling it is the safest to have your money on you (avoid having your wallet in your backpockets). If you decide to take traveler's cheques, carry the receipts thereof separately.

You need to purchase (and bring) at least one present (omiyage) for your host family. Try to bring something "typical" from your area.

When you pack your luggage be sure to include a sweater and comfortable clothing (for the monastery), at least one set of good clothes, easily removable shoes, and raingear. The weather will be roughly between 300 F (on the mountains) and 550 F (on a warm day in Nagasaki). Since the course mcludes a couple of day trips, include a backpack in your luggage. We will frequently have to walk through airports and translations with our luggage: therefore, I suggest 1 piece of carry-on and 1 piece of check-in luggage; for check-in luggage I suggest either a backpack or a suitcase with wheels. When you pack be sure to store all your valuables and all necessary items such as medicine you require, toothbrush in the carry-on luggage -the trip from Minneapolis to Kyoto will take us roughly 35 hours [be prepared for the worst-case scenario that your luggage arrives one or two days later]. Do not carry any items which could be construed to be weapons such as scissors in your carry-on luggage. Finally, don't forget to store things4o-do such as books, letters, etc. in your carry~n luggage.

I also would suggest that you read major sections of the course readings already at home or on the plane. This will not only prepare you for the course but will also take pressure of you when you are in Japan. If you have time check out some of the articles on Japan, which I put on the reserve. These articles will provide a conceptual framework which will help you to interpret and process your experiences in Japan (after all this is the task of the humanistic disciplines).

We will meet in Minneapolis at 4:00 p.m. at United Airlines counter. We will check in together and, then, have dinner somewhere in the airport. UA 588, departure 7:00 p.m. Arrival in Chicago is at 8:18 p.m. and leave Chicago o'Hareat 12:40 a.m. on Korean Air (KA) 36 for Seoul. We will arrive in Seoul is 01/096:15 am. (after 15.5 hours) and in Osaka/Kansai is 01/09 at 11:50 am. on KA723.

If possible, you can exchange money either in Minneapolis or in Osaka while I purchase the train tickets to Kyoto. The train station, from which we will depart for Kyoto, is connected with the airport via an overpass. On the trip to Kyoto, we should decide the room arrangement for our time at the Bunka Senta.

Travel to Kyoto. in the late afternoon and evening, we will familiarize ourselves with our neighborhood in Kyoto and the way of getting around by bus and subway. Visit to the Heian Jingu Shrine.

Evening (9:00 pm): class: Kasulis, chapter 1; journal 1 due 01/10:

The pervasive theme of the first day is "orientation to Kyoto." We will begin the day with breakfast at a local coffee shop (kissaten) - visit to Kiyomizudera (see appendix 1), one of the main Buddhist temples in Kyoto, and the Jishu Shrine in the morning - lunch at a local udon (noodle soup) place ; in the afternoon: visit to Sanjusangendo and Rokuhara Mitsuji, both of which are famous for their Buddhist art.

Evening (9:00 p.m.): class Kasulis, chapters 2 and 3,journal 2 due

Morning is free; at 11:00 a.m. we will go to Shishigatani Sabe on the Philosopher's Path where we participate in a tea ceremony provided by the Utasenke tea school. The homepage of the Urasenke tea school describes the "WAY OF TEA - CHADO" as follows:

"Sen Rikyu, the l6thcentury tea master who perfected the Way of Tea, was once asked to explain what this Way entails. He replied that it was a matter of observing but seven rules: Make a satisf~ing bowl of tea; Lay the charcoal so that the water boils efficiently; Provide a sense of warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer; Arrange the flowers as though they were in the field; Be ready ahead of time; Be prepared in case it should raln; Act with utmost consideration toward your guests. According to the well-known story relating the dialogue between Rikyn and the questioner mentioned above, the questioner was vexed by Rikyu's reply, saying that those were simple matters that anyone could handle. To this, Rikyn responded that he would become a disciple of the person who could carry them out without fail." (http://www.urasenke.or.jp/eframe .htmi)

Evening: Kasulis chapter 4, and deBary pp. 237-240, and 255-261; journal 3

Meditation at Daitokuji; visit to Mt. Hiei

Evening: deBary chapter 6, journal 4

Day trip to Obama-shi and visit to Hosshinji

HOSSHINJI, a training temple of So to Zen Buddhism: Here we will meet Roshi Harada Sekkei (the Zen master) and American and European monks. This will be our first "inside" experience of Zen Buddhism. we will also be discussing the practice of Takahatsu - begging. Hosshinji is located in Obama-shi, a small town 90 train minutes northwest of Kyoto. Hosshinji's liaison person for English-speaking visitors is David Rumme, a Luther graduate. David Rumme "grew up in Nagoya Japan where his father (also LC grad) was a missionary for 30+ years. David has spent the last 19+ years as a Buddhist monk in the Hosshin Temple" (Uwe Rudolf).

"What is it that so attracts Americans about Zen? One answer comes from the six-foot-five-inch- tall son of American Christian missionaries who now goes by the name Daigaku, meaning "great mountain." Daigaku has been meditating as a Zen monk over seventeen years in a temple in rural Japan. 'In mainstream Judaeo-Christianity,' he says,' most people have a dualistic view of God and Man. In Buddhism everything is Buddha. It's just a matter of waking up to that ,and, or mediating is the means to do it. Buddhism is the only religion that has the guts to really deal with the three most difficult aspects of the ego: greed, anger and ignorance. Zen is the way of liberation form the ego-self"' (Frederik Schodt's America and the Four fapans, 38-39)

Evening: Kasulis chapter 5, journal 5


Morning free; options: visit to Nijo castle, Nanzenji, or the Inari Jinsha

Afternoon: research at the library of the Kyoto International Community House

Evening: Kasulis chapter 6, journal 6

Check-out and departure from the Bunka Senta at 12:00 p.m. tripto Kameoka. Hopefully, we will be able to leave our big luggage at the Culture Center (Bunka Senta)

INTERNATIONAL ZEN MONASTERY - KOKUSM ZENDO (3 days (01/16 4:00 p.m. -01/18 15:00 P~M.) of Zen meditation under Dr. Hozumi). The daily routine of the Koknsai Zendo is as follows:
5:00 a.m.: getting up
5:20 a.m. morning service
6:00 a.m. zazen followed by tea
7:00 a.m. cleaning inside and out
7:30 a.m. morning meal
9:00 a.m. manual labor. Teisho lecture (I doubt that we will have lectures; manual labor means cleaning, doing dishes etc.)
12:30 lunch
2:00 pjn. zazen, sutra practice
4:00 p.m. evening service
5:00 p.m. supper
7:00 p.m. zazen, sanzen (formal interview with master - I don't think that this will apply to us)
9:00 p.m. lights out

Checking out from Kokusai Zendo - return via bus and train to the Kyoiku Bunka Senta

After dinner: class: Kasulis chapter 7, journal 8

5:00 a.m. morning service, 6:00 a.m. breakfast; exploration of Mt. koya; meeting with Genso; visit of Okunoin and museum

Free time to explore Mt. Koya; recommendation: visit to the Mausoleum of Kukai

Evening (7:00 p.m.): class: Reader chapter 1-2, journal 9

5:00 a.m. morning service, 6:00 a.m. breakfast; 7:00 a.m. class

11:00 a.m. our bus will pick us up and drive us via Wakayama to Shikoku.

Participation at the pilgrimage in honor of Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism on Shikoku. We will be visiting 24 of the 88 temples, stay in temples and minshukus, hostels for pilgrims, and study the popular form of Shingon Buddhism, The bus will take us to most of the temples, some of them we will have to walk to. every evening, we will have class after dinner to discuss the class readings and our experiences.

3 classes Reader chapter 3-5, journals 10-12 due

Trip to Nagasaki

Arrival in Nagasaki, checking into Nishiki-So-Bekkam

Deijima, Atomic Bomb Museum, Chinatown

Evening: Reader chapters 6-7, journal 13

Sotome tour

2:50 Sumo Lecture (Professor Mark Tiedeman)

4:30 Kendo demonstration (Professor Claudia Marra)

Evening: deBary: Chapter 10, journal 14

9:00 Class participation, U1 Bradley, U2 Mark

10:40 Lecture on Japanese Aesthetics (Professor Claudia Marra)

Reading: deBary: Chapters 19-20; journal 15


"The college was founded after the war as 'Christian' college (its school motto is VITA VIA VERITAS = Latin for 'the way the life the truth) and established itseff in the Sumiyoshi district at the northern edge of Nagasaki. In 1995, the college built a completely new, ultra modern $50 mirnon campus in Togitsu where we will be visiting. The college trains about 700 students, almost all female, in languages and culture, preparing them to work in the service industry as hostesses, flight attendants, etc, in positions requiring foreign languages. It is a two-year college that is currently working on becoming a four-year institution. Languages taught include English, French, German, Spanish, and Chinese." - Uwe Rudolf

"Mark Tiedemann is a 1980 graduate of Luther College, majoring in English. Originally from Platteville, Wisconsin, he has spent the last 13 years in Nagasaki and is a tenured Associate Professor of English at the Nagasaki Jr. College of Foreign Languages." He is further the director of the Japanese Studies in Nagasaki Program (JASIN). - Uwe Rudolf

Afternoon: departure by train to Tosu-shi

Our stay in Tosu-shi: During our stay in Tosu-shi we will be the guests of our host families. That means that we will spend most evening and Sunday with our host families. One weekday mornings, we will, for the most part, have class discussions or welcome visiting speakers. Most of the afternoons will spend in exploring Tosu-shi by means of various activities.

Arrival at Tosu Station; meeting with host families

Lecture on Pure Land Buddhism by Professor Nobuyoshi Yamabe

Visit to Bairinji

Lunch at Professor Haraoka's house

Visit to Jokoji, a temple of Jodo Shinshu

Evening with host families

Spending the day with host families

Evening: party with host families

Exchange with students of Kyushu Ryukoku Tanki Daigaku

Visit to Yoshinogari

Visit to a pottery

Afternoon: departure for Fukuoka

Evening: Kasulis chapter 8, journal 16

Stay in Fukuoka

Day: off

Evening: class: Kasulis chapter 9, journal 17

Morning class: Kasulis chapter 10, journal 18

10:00 a.m. depature for Hakata Airport

Departure from Fukuoka: 1:00 p.m.; arrival in Osaka: 2:00 p.pm.; departure from Osaka: 9:05 p.m.; arrival in Honolulu 8:25 a.m.

Free day in Honolulu

Departure from Honolulu: 6:30 p.m.; arrival in Minneapolis 01/31 6:05 a.m.