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Embodying the Dharma

Buddhist Relic Veneration in Asia

David Germano, Kevin Trainor

Publication Year: 2004

Embodying the Dharma explores the centrality of relic veneration in Asian Buddhist cultures. Long disregarded by Western scholars as a superstitious practice reflecting the popularization of “original” Buddhism, relic veneration has emerged as a topic of vital interest in the last two decades with the increased attention to Buddhist ritual practice and material culture. This volume includes studies of relic traditions in India, Japan, Tibet, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, as well as broader comparative analyses, including comparisons of Buddhist and Christian relic veneration.

Published by: State University of New York Press

EMBODYING THE DHARMA

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CONTENTS

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pp. vii-viii

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. ix-x

We would like to thank the American Academy of Religion for supporting the Buddhist Relic Veneration Seminar, 1994–1997. Thanks are due, as well, to all the seminar participants, including Yael Bentor, Robert Campany, Steven Collins, Bernard Faure, Charles Hallisey, Jacob Kinnard, Susanne Mrozik, ...

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1. INTRODUCTION: BEYOND SUPERSTITION

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pp. 1-26

Relics have arrived in the study of religion and, in particular, in Buddhist studies. This can be seen, for example, in the 1998 publication of Critical Terms for Religious Studies by the University of Chicago Press. Whatever one might say about the list of terms that made the final cut of twenty-two, the fact that it included an essay on relics by Gregory Schopen, a scholar of Buddhism, is noteworthy.1 ...

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2. BUDDHIST RELICS IN COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE: BEYOND THE PARALLELS

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pp. 27-50

Over the years, I have had the chance to visit three different Buddhist temples claiming to house various tooth relics of the Buddha. The first was the Dalada Maligawa in Kandy, Sri Lanka, which I first went to in 1969. As I filed past the open doors of the inner sanctum, along with other pilgrims, I caught a brief glimpse of the outermost of the famous relic’s reliquaries. ...

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3. LIVING RELICS OF THE BUDDHA(S) IN TIBET

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pp. 51-92

Buddhism is the one indigenous religion in Asia with a long and continuous record of successful migration, an impressive two and half millennia history from its northern Indian origins to the furthest reaches of Asia in every direction. This process has been marked as much by transformation and diversity as by continuity and unity, whether we look to its literatures, doctrines, practices, or institutions. Yet within this diversity, ...

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4. BUDDHIST RELICS AND JAPANESE REGALIA

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pp. 93-116

I have elsewhere examined the role played by Buddhist "relics" (

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5. THE FIELD OF THE BUDDHA’S PRESENCE Jacob N. Kinnard

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pp. 117-144

It has become virtually impossible to discuss stupas, relics, and images of the Buddha without recourse to the language of presence.Although presence may be a convenient, and even an accurate, rubric for what these objects effect, such language is also inherently vague and carries with it significant and sometimes troubling philosophical and ...

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6. SIGNS OF THE BUDDHA IN NORTHERN THAI CHRONICLES

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pp. 145-162

On July 8, 1993, the highly revered Thai monk Buddhadasa Bhikkhu died. Prior to his death he penned the following verses: ...

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7. ON THE ALLURE OF BUDDHIST RELICS

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pp. 163-192

For almost a hundred years cultural anthropologists have been carrying on a lively and ofttimes rancorous debate over the issue of “how natives think.” Do “primitives,” to resort to the early but now unfashionable term, apprehend and reflect upon the world in a fundamentally different way than do we moderns? Does it make sense to talk of “primitive mentality,” or less contentiously, of “divergent rationalities”?...

CONTRIBUTORS

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pp. 193-194

INDEX

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pp. 195-201


E-ISBN-13: 9780791484401
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791462171
Print-ISBN-10: 079146217X

Page Count: 211
Illustrations: 5 b/w photographs
Publication Year: 2004