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On Rewriting Buddhism

Or, How Not to Write a History

Ananda Abeysekara

even Mahayana entrenched in making outmoded yet normative assessments about Buddhism, history, and politics ( Abeysekara 2019a , 2019b ). 2 One of the concepts central to these endeavors is ‘agency’. 3 And before it gained inroads into Buddhist

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Pali and Monastic Reform

A Response to Ananda Abeysekara

Alastair Gornall

In his review of Rewriting Buddhism: Pali Literature and Monastic Reform in Sri Lanka, 1157–1270 , Ananda Abeysekara has focused on some of the book's analytical categories, most notably, my use of the concept of ‘agency’. Overall, I can

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Rethinking Anthropological Models of Spirit Possession and Theravada Buddhism

Erick White

-bounded) disciplinary dialogue about Buddhism as an object of anthropological study. 1 This perspective distinguished itself from the philological, philosophical, literary, and historical approaches that had previously dominated academic scholarship. Field research on

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Imitations of Buddhist Statecraft

The Patronage of Lao Buddhism and the Reconstruction of Relic Shrines and Temples in Colonial French Indochina

Patrice Ladwig

Vientiane—the colonial capital of Laos—because the city was rebuilt almost from the ground up after the 1827 attack by Siam. This article examines the colonial politics of ‘rebuilding’ Buddhism in Laos in the period between 1893 and 1940. I will here explore

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War Magic and Just War in Indian Tantric Buddhism

Iain Sinclair

Warfare was widespread in classical India. Although the Buddhists of India abhorred killing, they could not evade or ignore war altogether. From the seventh century to the thirteenth century, various types of war magic, together with justifications for their use, developed in tantric Buddhist communities. Defensive types of war magic adhered to pacifist ethics and aimed to avoid, halt, or disperse armies. Harmful war magic was applied in the context of the transcendent ethics of enlightenment. Even when warfare was fully incorporated into Buddhist soteriology, non-violence remained a paramount virtue, and the scope of a just war was very limited. The present survey of tantric sources shows that tantric Buddhist war magic emerged as a reaction to the inevitability of war and was applied in the hope of mitigating warfare's excesses.

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The Way of the Bodhisattva

A Buddhist Understanding of King Lear

Marguerite A. Tassi

.5.213–217) Though Buddhism has been studied and practised in Western societies since the mid-twentieth century, few scholars in the West have approached Shakespeare from the perspective of Buddhist wisdom. I would like to suggest that the Buddha's spiritual

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Contemporary religious life in the Republic of Altai

The interaction of Buddhism and Shamanism

Agniezka Halemba

Based on extensive fieldwork, this article analyses the state of religious beliefs and practices in present-day and recent Altai. The contending claims and historical traditions of Shamanism, Buddhism and Burkhanism are discussed as part of the process of forging a new Altaian national identity. Altaian intellectuals tend to favour Buddhism over Shamanism, as providing more systematic philosophical content and links with the wider Buddhist community in neighbouring countries. Shamanism, however, more spiritual, unstructured and heterogeneous in its make-up, is more popular at grass-roots level, though there are some attempts at institutionalization and interaction with the political process. Supporters of this view see Buddhism as extraneous and non-indigenous and 'un-Altaian'. Despite instances of open clashes, the author concludes that in the future there may develop more constructive interaction between the two religious traditions.

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Buddhism, the Asokan Persona, and the Galactic Polity

Rethinking Sri Lanka's Constitutional Present

Roshan de Silva Wijeyeratne

Sri Lanka's civil war between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamil communities has now raged for nearly half a century. The Sri Lankan cum Sinhalese Buddhist state has since independence resisted all significant attempts by the Tamil political leadership at power sharing. Most constitutional lawyers and progressive Sri Lankan opinion (Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher, etc.) hold that short of a separate state, administrative power should be devolved in the form of a federal state, so as to give autonomy to the northeast of Sri Lanka, while the forces of Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism have sought to justify the centralized state by recourse to the history of Buddhism and the Sinhalese on the island. Such arguments have drawn on the ontological potential of the cosmic order of Sinhalese Buddhism, which is fundamentally hierarchical in intent. Here I argue that the diffused nature of this cosmic order provides the ontological grounding for a decentralized state structure that can accommodate ethnic difference in a non-hierarchical relation. Thus, the legacy of Sinhalese Buddhism can be rescued from the forces of Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism.

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Beyond the Glittering Golden Buddha Statues

Difference and Self-transformation through Buddhist Volunteer Tourism in Thailand

Brooke Schedneck

spiritual vacations have become a meaningful addition to the offerings within Thailand’s tourism industry, as evidenced by the variety and diversity of opportunities to learn about and practice Buddhism offered to travelers. Teaching English in temple

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The Buddhist Book Culture of the Average Person and Buryat Identity

Andrei Bazarov

Translator : Jenanne K. Ferguson

Buddhist is an integral part of the general Buddhist culture of Buryatia. The beginning of the systemic organization of Buryat Buddhism is generally considered to have taken place during the first quarter of the eighteenth century AD. These first steps were