Tibetan Ritual by Jose Ignacio Cabezon

By Jose Ignacio Cabezon

Ritual is without doubt one of the so much pervasive non secular phenomena within the Tibetan cultural international. regardless of its ubiquity and significance to Tibetan cultural existence, even if, merely lately has Tibetan ritual been given the eye it merits. this is often the 1st scholarly assortment to target this crucial topic. detailed in its old, geographical and disciplinary breadth, this publication brings jointly 11 essays via a world solid of students engaged on ritual texts, associations and practices within the larger Tibetan cultural global - Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and Mongolia. whereas lots of the chapters specialise in Buddhism, take care of ritual in Tibet's indigenous Bon faith. the entire essays are unique to this quantity. an in depth advent via the editor offers a large evaluation of Tibetan ritual and contextualizes the chapters in the box of Buddhist and Tibetan experiences. The booklet may still locate use in complicated undergraduate classes and graduate seminars on Tibetan faith. it is going to even be of curiosity to scholars and students of formality generally.

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The Place of Ritual Studies in the Changing Fields of Buddhology and Tibetology The field of Buddhist Studies has changed significantly in the past four decades, and these changes have created the conditions for the flourishing of fields like ritual studies. Outlining these shifts will help us to understand why Tibetologists have become more interested in rituals—more interested than they were just a few years ago. Earlier generations of Buddhologists were concerned almost exclusively with texts, and not with “texts” in the broad way that we understand the term today, but with written documents.

Hence, Tibetan Buddhist Studies was not initially seen as an autonomous subarea of Buddhology, but rather as a kind supplement to Indian Buddhist Studies. As late as the 1970s, we find scholars like David Seyfort Ruegg having to argue for the autonomy of Tibetan Buddhist Studies, indicating the persistence of this mindset up to recent times. Moreover, being concerned principally with the ideas found in written texts, few earlier scholars wrote on the social, political, and economic contexts of the societies in which Buddhism flourished even in classical times, much less in the modern period.

These changes have been profound. They are transformations in what we study, in how we study it, in the tools at our disposal, and most recently in the media we use to disseminate our research. The notion of “text,” for example, is much broader than it once was. While we still study written, doctrinal, and philosophical texts, we also study Buddhist biographies, fiction, plays, and a variety of other narrative texts. We still study the written works of the elite male clergy, but increasingly we study the writings and oral traditions of nuns and of the Buddhist laity.

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