Review: Guardians of the Buddha’s Home

Guardians of the Buddha’s Home. By Jessica Starling. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2019. 200 pages. $62.00 (hardcover), ISBN 9780824866921.

Matthew Hayes

University of California, Los Angeles

In Guardians of the Buddha’s Home, Jessica Starling decenters our view of modern Jōdo Shinshū practice by calling into question the primacy of “orthodox” roles, physical spaces, and relationships, often occupied and defined by male figures, that tend to undergird the tradition. Her book stands to contribute to the growing discourse in Buddhist and Japanese studies surrounding female identity in otherwise androcentric religious communities and offers a cogent and commanding ex- ample of how ethnography can enliven this discourse within fields otherwise dominated by textual studies.

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