This concluding chapter reviews the meaning of tengu and discusses in broader context how ma, the Buddhist concept of evil, is socially constructed—not only to explain problems that exist in the world, but also to justify the existence of an institution that depends on its presence to survive. Images of tengu, particularly those related to the concept of ma, demonstrate the extent to which the Buddhist definition of evil impacted religious and secular societies in medieval Japan. Buddhist institutions were powerful entities not only where religion was concerned, but also in political and economic matters, where they relied on their close ties to the court and warrior elites. They also were responsible for defining and creating the predominant images of evil throughout the period, and did so to defend and legitimize their authority.
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