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Alms, Money and Reciprocity

Buddhist Nuns as Mediators of Generalised Exchange in Thailand

Joanna Cook

In this paper I examine the part that women, in the ambiguous role of Buddhist nun (mae chee), now take in the emblematic Buddhist practice of alms donations. The monastic office of 'mae chee' is complicated. It is conveyed through the ritual adoption of religious vows and is usually undertaken for life. However, mae chee ordination is only partial and its status is far below that of monks. In Thai law mae chee are regarded as pious laywomen (upasikas) and the Department of Religious Affairs does not mention them in its annual report. Even so, because they are said to have renounced the world they do not have the right to vote. Owing to this ambiguity mae chee are able to employ both the ascetic practices of renouncers (such as accepting alms) and those of laywomen (such as offering alms). Mae chee, while debarred from the alms round, both receive alms from the laity and donate alms to monks. Furthermore, mae chee receive monetary alms from the laity on behalf of the monastic community as a whole. I argue that by handling money given to the monastic community mae chee mediate in a relationship of generalised reciprocity between the monastic community and the lay society. By donating alms to monks, mae chee appear to be reaffirming their status of partial ordination, yet in order for them to be able to receive alms donations from the laity they must see themselves, and be recognised by the laity, as an integral part of the monastic community. A nuanced understanding of these economic, religious and gendered roles is crucial to our understanding of the incorporation of women into the monastic community and the ways in which gift practices are related to interpersonal and group dynamics in the context of modern Thai monasticism.

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The Non-Secular Pilgrimage

Walking and Looking in Ken Cockburn and Alec Finlay’s The Road North

Alice Tarbuck and Simone Kotva


In recent years, theologians have begun to interest themselves in the sacred yet avowedly non-confessional nature of much environmental writing, and the present article addresses this field of enquiry via a critical engagement with Ken Cockburn and Alex Finlay’s project The Road North (2010–2011). Appropriating Matsuo Bashō’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North to modern Scotland, Cockburn and Finlay distance their ‘pilgrimage’ from institutional religion yet engage with a tradition of contemplative practice, from the spirituality of the Desert Fathers to the manuals of Zen monasticism. In this article, we will draw on Finlay’s description of his work as ‘non-secular’ to develop a hermeneutic of the sacred in recent nature poetry. We will argue that while non-secular engagements with environment may educe forms of ‘ritual looking’ comparable to those practised by the religious mystic, a demurral of the ‘end’ and purpose of pilgrimage distinguishes this nonsecular from the theological ‘contemplation of nature’ to which it gestures.

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Legacies, Trajectories, and Comparison in the Anthropology of Buddhism

Nicolas Sihlé and Patrice Ladwig

according to the laws of karma, encountered instead a complex mix of monasticism and spirit cults, hopes of reincarnation in a good, prosperous life accompanied generally by a thorough lack of concern for ultimate salvation, and practices of transfer of

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Inaudito exemplo

The Abduction of Romsey’s Abbess

Linda D. Brown

Matilda were enthusiastic patrons of monasticism, it was not extraordinary that they should pledge their daughter to God. We must assume that their intention was for Marie’s religious vow to be a permanent one until death. While child oblation was far from

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So What Is the Anthropology of Buddhism About?

David N. Gellner

Authority in Gelukpa Monasticism . London : RoutledgeCurzon . Moran , Peter . 2004 . Buddhism Observed: Travelers, Exiles and Tibetan Dharma in Kathmandu . London : RoutledgeCurzon . 10.4324/9780203379448 Raghavan , Suren . 2016 . Buddhism Monks

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Ritual Tattooing and the Creation of New Buddhist Identities

An Inquiry into the Initiation Process in a Burmese Organization of Exorcists

Bénédicte Brac de la Perrière

to start with, but also ubiquity, longevity, and more. That is why the domain is classified as mundane or lawki (P. lokiya ) and is mainly located outside of monasticism, which is construed as supra-mundane or lawkoktara (P. lokuttara ). However

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Beyond the Glittering Golden Buddha Statues

Difference and Self-transformation through Buddhist Volunteer Tourism in Thailand

Brooke Schedneck

in Internet cafés, being outside of the temple in the afternoon, and answering cell phones ( Holt 2009: 193 ). As a consequence of the Western perceptions of Buddhist monasticism, when novices and monks do not act as perfect mindful embodiments of

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Pippa Marland and Anna Stenning

practice, from the spirituality of the Desert Fathers to the manuals of Zen monasticism, incorporating along the way nods towards the Celtic practice of peregrination, and taking inspiration from the seventeenth-century Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō. For Kotva

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The Corpus Christi Devotion

Gender, Liturgy, and Authority among Dominican Nuns in Castile in the Middle Ages

Mercedes Pérez Vidal

, with whom the king had a daughter, María de Castilla—who also became a prioress—and Catalina de Castilla, granddaughter of the same king. 5 Despite the increasing interest in female monasticism in Spain, only a few studies have adopted a gender approach

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Andrea Butcher

, Ritual and State in Tibetan Buddhism: The Foundations of Authority in Gelukpa Monasticism ( Abingdon : Routledge Curzon ). Nawang Tsering ( 1994 ), ‘ Book Review of Ancient Futures ’, Ladags Melong 2 : 46 – 47 . Summer Trial Issue . Norberg