Ethical Practice, Religious Reform, and the Buddhist Art of Living in Nepal

Seeing Things as They Are

By Lauren Leve

© 2016 – Routledge

320 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415617345
pub: 2016-02-01
Unavailable
N/A

About the Book

Theravada has experienced a powerful and far-reaching revival, especially among the Newar Buddhist laity, many of whom are reorganizing their lives according to its precepts, practices and ideals. This book documents these far-reaching social and personal transformations and links them to widespread political, economic and cultural shifts associated with late modernity, and especially neoliberal globalization. Nepal has changed radically over the last fifty years, and particularly since a popular movement opened the door to democratic political structures and an open-market economy in 1990.

Drawing on recently revived understandings of ethics as embodied practices of self-formation the author argues that the revived Theravada school is best understood as an ethical movement that offers practitioners ways of engaging, and models for living in, a rapidly changing world. This book explores Theravada Buddhism in Nepal from the perspectives of its practitioners—people who work the fields, work in offices, or telecommute from homes in Kathmandu—and who find its knowledge convincing, compelling and worthy of trying to internalize and perform. It details Theravada Buddhists’ social, ritual and meditative practices, their often conflicted relations to Vajrayana Buddhism and Newar civil society, their struggles to carve out a space in the world’s only extant Hindu kingdom, and the political, cultural, institutional and moral reorientations that becoming a 'pure Buddhist'—as Theravada devotees understand themselves—entails.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Seeing Things As They Are 2. ‘A Garden of Every Kind of People:’ Newar Buddhists in Hindu Nepal 3. The Revival of "Pure Buddhism" 4. What Makes A Theravada Buddhist? 5. Becoming "Pure Buddhist" (1): Practices of Personhood 6. Becoming "Pure Buddhist" (2): Vipassana Meditation and the Theravada Care of the Self 7. The Best Dharma for Today: Post-Protestant Buddhism in Neoliberal Nepal. Conclusion: The Buddhist Art of Living, in Nepal and Elsewhere

About the Author

Lauren Leve is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

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, Oxford University, UK

Michael Zimmermann, University of Hamburg, Germany

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
REL007020
RELIGION / Buddhism / Rituals & Practice
REL007040
RELIGION / Buddhism / Theravada
SOC008000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General