Academic journal article Japanese Journal of Religious Studies

Chinese Religion and the Formation of Onmyodo

Academic journal article Japanese Journal of Religious Studies

Chinese Religion and the Formation of Onmyodo

Article excerpt

Onmyodo is based on the ancient Chinese theories of yin and yang and the five phases. Practitioners of Onmyodo utilized Yijing divination, magical purifications, and various kinds of rituals in order to deduce one's fortune or to prevent unusual disasters. However, the term "Onmyodo" cannot be found in China or Korea. Onmyodo is a religion that came into existence only within Japan. As Onmyodo was formed, it subsumed various elements of Chinese folk religion, Daoism, and Mikkyo, and its religious organization deepened. From the time of the establishment of the Onmyodo as a government office under the ritsuryo codes through the eleventh century, magical rituals and purifications were performed extensively. This article takes this period as its focus, particularly emphasizing the connections between Onmyodo and Chinese religion.

keywords: Onmyoryo-ritsuryo system-Nihon shoki-astronomy-mikkyo-Onmyodo rituals

(ProQuest: Foreign text omitted.)

The first reference to the Onmyoryo HH5I: appears in the Nihon shoki On the first day of the first month of 675 (Tenmu 4), various students of the Onmyoryo, the Daigakuryo and the Geyakuryo (later renamed the Ten'yakuryo JftlSISS) are said to have paid tribute with medicine and rare treasures together with people from India, Bactria, Baekje, and Silla. On this day, the emperor took medicinal beverages such as toso MM and byakusan oifc1 and prayed together with all his officials for longevity. Here, we can also see a precedent for the use of medicines during the Nenju gyoji (annual ceremonies).

On the fifth day of the same month, it is recorded that a platform was erected for stellar prognostication. However, there is an earlier reference to astronomy and dunjia jfi^P2 predating the enthronement of Emperor Tenmu. On the twenty- fourth day of the sixth month of the first year of 672 (Tenmu 1), just prior to the onset of the Jinshin War Sr^OfíL, Tenmu purportedly witnessed dark clouds crossing the sky at the Yokogawa river in the district of Nabari. Upon seeing this phenome- non, he kindled a light and performed divinatory arts using a tool called a shikiban ÄS.3 It is thought that the Onmyoryo was first established during this period.

According to a Nihon shoki legend, the ideologies and techniques that became part of Onmyodo were transmitted to Japan by the early days of the sixth century. In the sixth month of 513 (Keitai 7), it is said that a scholar of the five "Confucian" classics called Dan Yangi was dispatched to Japan from Baekje. However, during the ninth month of 516 (Keitai 10), Gao Anjia itiSrS: of China substituted for Dan Yangi, who returned to Baekje. Furthermore, during the sixth month of 553 (Kinmei 14), there was an exchange of scholars of medicine, calendrical studies, and Yijing divination who had come from Baekje. The Japanese then appealed for more divination books, calendrical texts, and a variety of medicines to be sent. In the second month of the following year, 554 (Kinmei 15), Wang Ryugwi 3i$l It was dispatched to serve as the successor to Ma Jeongan BTSr, another scholar of the five classics. The Yijing scholar Wang Doryang rEiftii, the calendar scholar Wang Boson the medicine scholar Wang Yuryeonta and the herbalists Ban Yangpung and Jeong Yuta also arrived in Japan.

Scholars of the five classics read and studied the Yijing Mi í£, the Shujing #11, the Shijing ff H, the Chunqiu and the Liji ÍLüñ. In China, they were first appointed by Emperor Han Wudi 8Í Älff as official Confucian teachers who also bore the responsibility of educating the government. However, the blending of Yijing with the theories of yin, yang, and the five phases was especially due to the former Han scholar, Dong Zhongshu Irí^íS*.

Scroll nineteen ("The biographies of Baekje") of the Zhou Shu JH# records the following: "They interpret yin, yang, and the five phases. They also utilize the Song Yuanjia Li yctiM, and they establish the beginning of the year with the month of Jianyin JÉ jit. …

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