Asceticism and Power in South and Southeast Asia

Edited by Peter Flügel, Gustaaf Houtman

© 2016 – Routledge

336 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415423847
pub: 2016-03-01

About the Book

Including analyses by top academics in the field, this book takes a unique look at questions of power and asceticism in the Hindu, Jain and Buddhist traditions of South and Southeast Asia.

Ideas about power and purity in these three traditions are crucially related to ascetic practices. Paradoxically, asceticism is in these traditions conceived not only as a means of world-renunciation but also as a means of world-transformation. However, the way in which the conflictual relationship between these two aspects is conceptualized and organized varies historically and regionally and is subject of ongoing religious contests and political negotiations.

This is the first book to provide a comparative analysis of the related traditions and their history in relation to the questions of power and legitimacy throughout contemporary Asia.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Historical 1. Power of Words: The Ascetic Appropriation and the Semantic Evolution of Dharma Patrick Olivelle 2. Power and Status: Ramanandi Warrior Ascetics in 18th Century Jaipur Monika Horstmann 3. The Householder Ascetic and the Uses of Self-Discipline Timothy Lubin 4. The Buddhist Wrathful Ascetic: An Analysis of the Mataga Jataka Justin Meiland 5. Yogic and Political Power among the Nath Siddhas of North India David Gordon White 6. Ascetics' Rights in Early 19th Century Jaipur (Rajasthan) Catherine Clémentin-Ojha Part 2: Contemporary 7. Guru and Politics in India: Public 'Eminences Grises'? Christophe Jaffrelot 8. Concepts of power in the Jaina tradition Peter Flügel 9. Legitimacy and Power within the Dasanami Order: Sankaracarya and the Monasteries Matthew Clarke 10. Guru Bhagwan Ram and the Politics of Aghor Roxanne Poormon Gupta 11. Asceticism as Political Protest: The Self-Immolations of Vietnamese Buddhists in the 1960s Emmi Okada 12. Moderate Asceticism among the Thai Urban Middle Class: Alternative Paths to Buddhist Piety and Social Prestige Irene Stengs 13. The Quest for Salvation in Burmese Buddhism: World-Renunciation or World-Transformation Guillaume Rozenberg 14. Asceticism in the Political Language of Aung San and his Daughter Aung San Suu Kyi Gustaaf Houtman

About the Series

Royal Asiatic Society Books

The Royal Asiatic Society was founded in 1823 ‘for the investigation of subjects connected with, and for the encouragement of science, literature and the arts in relation to, Asia’. Informed by these goals, the policy of the Society’s Editorial Board is to make available in appropriate formats the results of original research in the humanities and social sciences having to do with Asia, defined in the broadest geographical and cultural sense and up to the present day.

Editorial Board:
Professor Francis Robinson, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK (Chair); Professor Tim Barrett, SOAS, University of London, UK; Dr Evrim Binbaş, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK; Professor Anna Contadini, SOAS, University of London, UK; Professor Michael Feener, National University of Singapore; Dr Gordon Johnson, University of Cambridge, UK; Professor David Morgan, University of Wisconsin–Madison, US; Dr. BMC Brend; Dr. R. Llewellyn Jones MBE

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
RELIGION / Buddhism / General (see also PHILOSOPHY / Buddhist)
RELIGION / Judaism / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General