State University of New York Press

SUNY series in Buddhist Studies (discontinued)

Matthew Kapstein

Published by: State University of New York Press

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SUNY series in Buddhist Studies (discontinued)

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Constituting Communities

Theravada Buddhism and the Religious Cultures of South and Southeast Asia

Constituting Communities explores how community functions within Theravaµda Buddhist culture. Although the dominant focus of Buddhist studies for the past century has been on doctrinal and philosophical issues, this volume concentrates on discourses that produced them, and why and how these discourses and practices shaped Theravaµda communities in South and Southeast Asia. From a variety of perspectives, including historical, literary, doctrinal and philosophical, and social and anthropological, the contributors explore the issues that have proven important and definitive for identifying what it has meant, individually and socially, to be Buddhist in this particular region. The book focuses on textual discourse, how communities are formed and maintained within pluralistic contexts, and the formation of community both within and between the monastic and lay settings.

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Mediating the Power of Buddhas

Ritual in the Manjusrimulakalpa

Mediating the Power of Buddhas offers a fascinating analysis of the seventh-century ritual manual, the MañjusŒriµmuµlakalpa. This medieval text is intended to reveal the path into a ritual universe where the power of a buddha abides. Author Glenn Wallis traces the strategies of the MañjusŒriµmuµlakalpa to enable its committed reader to perfect the promised ritual, uncovering what conditions must be met for ritual practice to succeed and what personal characteristics practitioners must possess in order to realize the ritual intentions of the Buddhist community. The manual itself was written at a key point in Buddhist history, one when Hindu forms of practice were still imitated and on the cusp of the shift from Mahaµyaµna to Vajrayaµna (or Tantric) Buddhism. In addition, the MañjusŒriµmuµlakalpa presents a rich compendium of Buddhist life in an earlier era, containing information on a variety of its readers’ concerns: astrology, astronomy, medicine and healing, ritual practice, iconography, devotion, and meditation.

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