The Description of Buddhist Dreams in Kagerō Nikki and Sarashina Nikki

Yan Chen

Female writers in Heian Period such as Michitsuna no Haha, Sugawara no Takasue no Musume and etcetera wrote a lot of religon-related diaries. They were vegetarian at home, made pilgrimages to temples outside the capital city and recorded the Buddhist Dreams they had. Because of their writings, we are able to understand the status of noble women’s the Buddhist belief at that time. On one hand, they sought spiritual comfort from Buddhism when they were confronted with mental distress; on the other hand, they always focused their attention on secular life. Their literary writing benefited both from the tolerant creative environment and the free religious environment. The dilemma in reality aroused their strong self-consciousness and such such self-consciousness was effectively expressed via prose and diaries, which are ideal for detailed narration. Although Buddhist religous-related descriptions appeared in their writings, they always focused on the secular world and the inner self. After all, Buddhist belief was only an external reference when they expressed themselves.


Yan 1977-)is an Associate professor in College of Foreign Languages, Fujian Normal University. She received he Ph.D. in 2010, Beijin Foreign Studies University. Her research interest is classical Japanese literature.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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