Buddhist Rituals of Death and Rebirth: Contemporary Sri Lankan Practice and Its Origins, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Buddhist Rituals of Death and Rebirth

Contemporary Sri Lankan Practice and Its Origins, 1st Edition

By Rita Langer

Routledge

244 pages

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Description

In Buddhist thought and practice, death has always been a central concept. This book provides a careful and thorough analysis of the rituals and social customs surrounding death in the Theravada tradition of Sri Lanka.

Rita Langer describes the rituals of death and rebirth and investigates their ancient origins, analyzing social issues of the relationship between monks and lay people in this context. This aspect is of particular interest as death rituals are the only life cycle ritual in which Theravada Buddhist monks are actively involved. Drawing on early Vedic sutras and Pali texts as well as archaeological and epigraphical material, Buddhist Rituals of Death and Rebirth establishes that Sri Lankan rituals are deeply rooted in their pre-Buddhist, Vedic precursors. Whilst beliefs and doctrines have undergone considerable changes over the centuries, it becomes evident that the underlying practices have largely remained stable.

The first comprehensive study of death rituals in Theravada Buddhist practice, this is an important contribution to the fields of Buddhist studies, indology, anthropology and religious studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction Part 1 Death and Dying 1.1 Contemporary Sri Lankan Practice 1.2 Commentary to the Practice 1.3 Some Historical Roots: Time of Death Part 2 Funeral 2.1 Contemporary Sri Lankan Practice 2.2 Commentary to the Practice 2.3 Some Historical Roots: Handling the Remains Part 3 Post-Funerary Rites 3.1 Contemporary Sri Lankan Practice 3.2 Commentary to the Practice 3.3 Some Historical Roots: Giving of Merit. Conclusions.

About the Author

Rita Langer is currently Research Fellow in Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol, UK. Focusing on Southeast Asia (Thailand and Laos), she is continuing her research into Theravada death rituals as part of a larger AHRC funded project, 'Buddhist Death Rituals of Southeast Asia and China'.

About the Series

Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism

Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism is a comprehensive study of the Buddhist tradition. The series explores this complex and extensive tradition from a variety of perspectives, using a range of different methodologies. The series is diverse in its focus, including historical, philological, cultural, and sociological investigations into the manifold features and expressions of Buddhism worldwide. It also presents works of constructive and reflective analysis, including the role of Buddhist thought and scholarship in a contemporary, critical context and in the light of current social issues. The series is expansive and imaginative in scope, spanning more than two and a half millennia of Buddhist history. It is receptive to all research works that are of significance and interest to the broader field of Buddhist Studies.

Some of the titles in the series are published in association with the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, which conducts and promotes rigorous teaching and research into all forms of the Buddhist tradition.

Editorial Advisory Board:
James A. Benn, McMaster University, Canada

Jinhua Chen, The University of British Columbia, Canada

Rupert Gethin, University of Bristol, UK

Peter Harvey, University of Sunderland, UK

Sallie King, James Madison University, USA

Anne Klein, Rice University, USA

Lori Meeks, University of Southern California, USA;

Ulrich Pagel, School of Oriental and African Studies, UK

John Powers, Australian National University, Australia;

Juliane Schober, Arizona State University, USA

Vesna A. Wallace, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Michael Zimmermann, University of Hamburg, Germany

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
REL007000
RELIGION / Buddhism / General (see also PHILOSOPHY / Buddhist)
REL024000
RELIGION / Eastern
SOC008000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General