Abstract

The veneration of Buddha relics and images is a neglected, yet central organizing principle of Theravada culture and religious practice. My essay is informed by a historised understanding of Eliade's hierophany, a manifestation of a universal Buddhist sacred reality that defines and identifies cultural orders at the centers of local, historical contexts. I further rely on Bells' work on ritual and Gramsci's writings on hegemony to describe Burmese veneration of the Buddha's remains in diverse social and religious contexts. These range from the solitary practice, meditation and personal service in the Ananda mode to the Royal mode that defines social hierarchy in public rituals and expresses socioreligious aspirations of individuals and communities through culturally salient metaphors.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2010-314X
Print ISSN
1094-799X
Pages
pp. 111-339
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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