Buddhism and the Spirit Cults in Northeast Thailand

Overview

Dr Tambiah describes the religious practices and beliefs of the people of a remote village in north-east Thailand, relating them to the wider context of the civilization in which they are embedded, and examining the relationship of the religious practices of the villagers to the classical Buddhist tradition. Because they have based their studies on the Sanskrit and Pali literature, Western observers have tended to dismiss much of the popular manifestation of Buddhism as debased. Dr Tambiah demonstrates that this ...

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Overview

Dr Tambiah describes the religious practices and beliefs of the people of a remote village in north-east Thailand, relating them to the wider context of the civilization in which they are embedded, and examining the relationship of the religious practices of the villagers to the classical Buddhist tradition. Because they have based their studies on the Sanskrit and Pali literature, Western observers have tended to dismiss much of the popular manifestation of Buddhism as debased. Dr Tambiah demonstrates that this judgement is misleading, and emphasizes that the contemporary village religion that he describes manifests continuities as well as transformations with respect to the classical literary tradition. The village religion is described primarily through ritual.

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Product Details

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: the particular and the general;
2. The stage and its setting;
3. Cosmology;
4. Primary village concepts;
5. The institution of monkhood in historical perspective;
6. The rules of conduct for monks, novices, and laymen;
7. The phases of monkhood;
8. The monastic routine and its rewards;
9. The ideology of merit;
10. The cycle of collective wat rites and the agricultural calendar;
11. Death, mortuary rites, and the path to rebirth;
12. Liberation through hearing: the sacred words of the monks;
13. Sukhwan rites: the elders summon the spirit essence;
14. The co-existence of the brahman and the Buddhist monk;
15. The cult of the guardian spirits;
16. Myth and rite: the Naga symbol and the rocket festival;
17. The afflictions caused by malevolent spirits;
18. Exorcism as healing ritual;
19. A kaleidoscopic view of the religious field;
20. The parade of supernaturals;
21. The past and present in the study of religion: continuities and transformations

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