Text: Extract from “Young Japan priests try to breathe life into fading Buddhism.” Religious News Service.

“TOKYO (AP) — Buddhism suffers from a gloomy image in Japan. It is so closely linked to death — funerals, graves and memorial rituals in which priests chant sutras based on Chinese rendering of Sanskrit texts that no one else understands — that people refer to it as “funeral Buddhism.”

The powerful forces of secularization and population decline have caused the religion to steadily wane in Japanese society, with disinterest in Buddhism — and faith in general — particularly pronounced among the young…

Since most people don’t have much opportunity to interact with Buddhist priests, 43-year-old Yoshinobu Fujioka spends evenings in downtown Tokyo at his Vowz Bar, a play on “bouzu,” Japanese for monk…

Unlike Buddhist priests elsewhere, those in Japan can marry, drink alcohol and eat meat, thanks to an 1872 imperial edict. Sharing cocktails in a cozy atmosphere encourages people to open up about their struggles, Fujioka said.” https://religionnews.com/2020/06/12/young-japan-priests-try-to-breathe-life-into-fading-buddhism/

May 2021 TOK essay Prescribed Title #2 is based on distinguishing between change and progress. Consider a few examples in the RLE:

  • Whether the changes in Japanese Buddhism resulting from the 1827 imperial edict are progress or not
  • Some would view the decline in popularity in Buddhism as progress whereas others would view it in the complete opposite way
  • Whether Yoshinobu Fujioka’s new approach to is progress or not