Sunday, July 10, 2005

Pagan Frontier and Resurrections: Contents

“Pagan Frontier and Resurrections: D. H. Lawrence’s The Escaped Cock and Shinobu Orikuchi’s The Book of the Dead”

           by Hiroaki Inami

1. Introduction of Shinobu Orikuchi (1887~1953): Lawrence’s contemporary and having, in a sense, a similar religious milieu; the idea of religious fusion or of “All religions are one” etc.

2. Visions of new religions in D. H. Lawrence’s The Escaped Cock (The Man Who Died) and Shinobu Orikuchi’s The Book of the Dead
A) Lawrence’s vision: a religion of cosmos and ‘power’ with a framework of the myth of Isis and Osiris and at the same time a new religion as a developed form of Christianity, which is a paganized one, not a Christianity of Crucifixion but of Resurrection. A unified religion of a pagan myth, a cosmic religion and Chritianity.
B) Orikuchi’s vision: He was critical of the prewar Emperor system. He thought that the Pacific war had been a war between Western God and Japanese gods or God, and that Western God had defeated Japanese gods or God. After the Emperor’s declaration of his being human (since he had been God so far), Orikuchi thought that it was a good chance that Shintoism (, which literally means ‘ the way of God’) should be a real religion, because he believed that Japanese had been short of religious enthusiasm. He wanted to resurrect so long dead Shintoism as a Japanese religion. It is considered to be a basic urge to write The Book of the Dead, besides a personal reason. Using a historic matter of Prince Otsu’s execution and a legend of Princess Chujo weaving the Taima Mandala, Orikuchi wrote it on the basic idea of the syncretism of Japanese native ‘Himatsuri or a festival of Sun’ and the Buddhist worship of Amitabha Tathagata(Amitahba means infinite light). The very religious point of the text is visions the heroine Iratsume saw at about sunsets at the spring and autumn equinoxes, in which there appeared a beautiful man with golden hair and white skin. He was the dead man who had lately resurrected. There was the conjunction or combination of a setting sun, a vision of the fair man and Buddhism. It was a religious and sensual vision with cosmic and natural sense. It raises a religious problem of the sun and light, which bears a strong resemblance to Lawrence’s sun and light.

3. A perspective from a theory of discrete difference (in short, a DD theory), which originated in collaboration with Mr. Kazumi Sakamoto
A DD theory: The Idea World/The Media World/The Phenomenal World
Lawrence’s Vision: The Father/Cosmos, Gods, the Holy Spirit/The Son (Christ)
Orikuchi’s Vision: Musubinokami (God of Spirit)/Gods of Creation/Nature

The Escaped Cock: consistence of difference and singularity: singularity and universality
The Book of the Dead: singularity and universality

4. Conclusion


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