Becoming the Buddha: The Ritual of Image Consecration in Thailand / Edition 1
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Becoming the Buddha: The Ritual of Image Consecration in Thailand / Edition 1

by Donald K. Swearer
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691114358

ISBN-13: 9780691114354

Pub. Date: 01/26/2004

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Becoming the Buddha is the first book-length study of a key ritual of Buddhist practice in Asia: the consecration of a Buddha image or "new Buddha," a ceremony by which the Buddha becomes present or alive. Through a richly detailed, accessible exploration of this ritual in northern Thailand, an exploration that stands apart from standard text-based or

Overview

Becoming the Buddha is the first book-length study of a key ritual of Buddhist practice in Asia: the consecration of a Buddha image or "new Buddha," a ceremony by which the Buddha becomes present or alive. Through a richly detailed, accessible exploration of this ritual in northern Thailand, an exploration that stands apart from standard text-based or anthropological approaches, Donald Swearer makes a major contribution to our understanding of the Buddha image, its role in Buddhist devotional life, and its relationship to the veneration of Buddha relics. Blending ethnography, analysis, and Buddhist texts related to this mimetic reenactment of the night of the Buddha's enlightenment, he demonstrates that the image becomes the Buddha's surrogate by being invested with the Buddha's story and charged with the extraordinary power of Buddhahood. The process by which this transformation occurs through chant, sermon, meditation, and the presence of charismatic monks is at the heart of this book.

Known as "opening the eyes of the Buddha," image consecration traditions throughout Buddhist Asia share much in common. Within the cultural context of northern Thailand, Becoming the Buddha illuminates scriptural accounts of the making of the first Buddha image; looks at debates over the ritual's historical origin, at Buddhological insights achieved, and at the hermeneutics of absence and presence; and provides a thematic comparison of several Buddhist traditions.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691114354
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
01/26/2004
Series:
Buddhisms: A Princeton University Press Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.44(h) x 1.04(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xiii
Preface xv
Note and Abbreviations xvii

PART I
INTRODUCTION 3

CHAPTER 1. BUDDHA AND BUDDHA IMAGE 9
The Power of Images 10
The Buddha Image in Northern Thailand 12
Scriptural Accounts of the First Buddha Image 14
The Buddha Image: An Art Historical Perspective 24

CHAPTER 2. MEETING THE BUDDHA: TEMPLE, IMAGE, AND RELIC 31
Wat, Reliquary, and Buddha Image 31
Reliquary and Image: Correlative Signs of the Buddha's Presence 35
Buddha Image and Wat: Nature and Function 40
Consecration and Renewal 42

CHAPTER 3. CONSTRUCTING A BUDDHA IMAGE 46
Bronze Image Manufacture in Northern Thailand 46
Texts 50
Tamra Kan Kosang Phraphuttharup (Manual for Making a Buddha Image) 50
Anisong Kan Kosang Phraphuttharup (The Meritorious Blessing for Making Buddha Images) 60
Yan Phraphuttharup (Buddha Image Yantra) 63
Analysis 68

PART II

CHAPTER 4. THE RITUAL: OPENING THE EYES OF THE BUDDHA 77
The Setting 79
The Bodhimanda 79
Offerings to the Guru 83
The Ritual Process 86
Preliminaries 86
Paritta and Image Consecration 88
Texts 90
Buddhajayamangala Atthagatha (The Auspicious Victory) 90
Dasa Parami (The Ten Perfections) 91
Sukho Buddho (Happiness Is the Buddha) 92
Jinapañjara Gatha (The Victor's Cage) 92
Paritta and Abhiseka 93

Opening the Eyes of the Buddha 94
Sermons: Ordaining the Buddha 96
The Performative Power of Meditation and Holy Monks 99
The Third Watch of the Night 102
Texts 107
Mangala Udana Gatha (Stanzas of Auspicious Joy) 107
Yo Kho Ananda (O Ananda) 107
Buddhanussati (Remembering the Buddha) 107
Making the Buddha Present 108
Appendix 4.1 Paritta and Suat Mon 115
Appendix 4.2 Monastic Biographies: Luang Pu La , Luang Pu Waen, Khruba Phrohm 118

CHAPTER 5. INSTRUCTING THE IMAGE 122
Introduction and Analysis 122
Texts 129
Pathom Somphot (The Buddha's Supreme Enlightenment) 129
Anisong Pathom Somphot (The Meritorious Blessing for Copying or Listening to the Pathom Somphot) 137
Sitthat Ok Buat (Siddhattha's Renunciation) 138

CHAPTER 6. EMPOWERING THE IMAGE 152
Introduction and Analysis 152
Texts 156
Buddha Abhiseka (Consecrating the Buddha) 156
Suat Boek Phranet (Opening the Eyes of the Buddha) 164

PART III

CHAPTER 7. THE BODY OF THE BUDDHA: POPULAR BUDDHISM AND BUDDHOLOGICAL THEORY 175
Buddhas: Past, Present, and Future 176
Buddha-body and Dhamma-body 184
Buddha Images, Kings, and Power 192
Texts 197
Tamnan Ka Phu'ak (The Chronicle of the White Crow) 197
Tamnan Phra Sila (The Chronicle of the Stone Buddha Image) 205

CHAPTER 8. CONSECRATION TRADITIONS IN OTHER BUDDHIST CULTURES: REASSESSING THE BUDDHABHISEKA 211
Auspicious Eyes: Enlivening the Image 212
Dhammicization: Image and Reality 218
Transformation: Sadhana 222
Syncretization: Buddha, Gods, and Ancestral Spirits 224
Conclusion: Stories and Saints, Icons and Images 230
Appendix 8.1 Hindu or Buddhist? 232

EPILOGUE: IF YOU MEET THE BUDDHA, KILL HIM! 235
P. A. Payutto (Phra Dhammapitaka) 238
Sacred Objects, Efficacious Deities, and Miracles 239
Buddhad sa Bhikkhu 242
Who Sees Me Sees the Dhamma 243
Everyday Language/Dhamma Language 244
Phra Bodhirak and Santi Asok 246

Notes 249
Glossary of Selected Pali and Thai Terms 299
Selected Bibliography 303
Index 321

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