Iconoclasm

廃仏毀釈
hai.butsu.ki.shaku

Literally: discard – Buddha – break – Shakyamuni*

Alternately: This historical term describes the idea that Buddhism should be rooted out of Japan. This may either be in general, or specifically as part of the changes that swept over the country in the early Meiji era; this movement saw the widespread destruction of Buddhist artifacts.

Notes: This idea of de-Buddhification is often entangled with nationalism: Buddhism was imported from India via China (and Korea), and is easy to set up as a foil for the collection of folk beliefs and ritual court practices that we know as Shinto.

*Note that 釈 on its own is “explanation”; it appears here as shorthand for its phonetic use in 釈迦 (Shaka), a name of the Buddha.

This phrase may be given the native-Japanese reading of Hotoke wo hai shite shaku wo soshiru. Alternatively, 廃 may be replaced with homophone 排 (“expel”) and 毀 with homophone 棄 (“throw away”) without any significant change in meaning, although this seems to be less common and may be a derivative phrase. However, replacing 仏 with homophone 物 (“thing”) is an error.

 
HaiButsuKiShakuKane

The destruction of a temple bell

About Confanity

I love the written word more than anything else I've had the chance to work with. I'm back in the States from Japan for grad school, but still studying Japanese with the hope of becoming a translator -- or writer, or even teacher -- as long as it's something language-related.
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