Friday, December 10, 2010

Hell -Part8

The influence the two writers have exerted on the religious life of their  times and in subsequent centuries is great in both cases. Illustrated copies  of the Inferno had an enormous influence which extended to public art, and  many Last Judgements commissioned for cathedrals reflected Dante’s  invention. Similarly Genshin’s ‘Ojoyoshu’, in the many centuries since its  first appearance in the latter part of the tenth century, has been published  in countless editions, many graphically illustrated. The macabre and  imaginative work struck a chord with the people, whose minds had been turned  toward the Buddhist ideas of retribution and reincarnation by the wars and  chaos of the times. Many Jigoku Zoshi (“hell scrolls”) were produced, series  of scrolls picturing the different types of hell. Though somewhat revolting  the scrolls are also tragically impressive in their Dantesque grandeur. In  addition to its influence on art, Genshin’s ‘Ojoyoshu’ had a profound  influence on Japanese Buddhism, and made Amidaism the supreme way of  salvation in Japan. The dominance of Amida Buddhism, which makes central the  Buddha Amitabha and salvation in his Western Paradise, or the Pure Land, is  a result of the popularity of Genshin’s work.

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