Abstract:The five cakra stupa, or gorintō, is ubiquitous in Japanese cemeteries today. Even when the stone graves do not take the gorintō shape (cube, sphere, pyramid, hemisphere, and jewel), the flat wooden slats placed behind them do. These so-called “plank stupas” or itatōba are placed behind graves at periodic memorial services and are common to virtually all Buddhist sects. The late thirteenth-century illustrated biography of the charismatic Buddhist leader Ippen offers a glimpse of the early days.
Bio:Hank Glassman studies Buddhist culture in medieval Japan. He has written on sacred images, popular literature, and funerary practices. His first book, The Face of Jizō was published in 2012; he is currently engaged in research on the grave marker called the gorintō.