Buddhist Rituals of Death and Rebirth: Contemporary Sri by Rita Langer

By Rita Langer

In Buddhist inspiration and perform, demise has regularly been a important notion. This e-book presents a cautious and thorough research of the rituals and social customs surrounding demise within the Theravada culture of Sri Lanka.

Rita Langer describes the rituals of dying and rebirth and investigates their old origins, examining social problems with the connection among priests and lay humans during this context. This element is of specific curiosity as loss of life rituals are the single existence cycle ritual during which Theravada Buddhist priests are actively concerned. Drawing on early Vedic sutras and Pali texts in addition to archaeological and epigraphical fabric, Buddhist Rituals of dying and Rebirth establishes that Sri Lankan rituals are deeply rooted of their pre-Buddhist, Vedic precursors. when ideals and doctrines have gone through significant alterations over the centuries, it turns into glaring that the underlying practices have mostly remained sturdy.

The first accomplished research of demise rituals in Theravada Buddhist perform, this is often a big contribution to the fields of Buddhist reports, indology, anthropology and spiritual studies.

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Sample text

Saying] om the hotar stands firm, [saying] om the adhvaryu, [saying] om the udgAtar. 7. ) of the Vedas. The priests having placed the sacrificer in this syllable carry him up together into the heavenly world. Therefore he should recite the afterverse [saying] om only. 6–7) 30 BROC01 11/06/2007 03:42PM Page 31 DEATH AND DYING Threefold ritual knowledge is the cause for ascending to heaven, but it is guarded carefully from humans by the gods and is only accessible with the help of the three priests.

The thought leading to the next place of birth sounds rather Buddhist, and considering that Prauna is said to be post-Buddhist, there might well have been cross influences. Summary In the early Vedic period death meant going to the dark underworld, and accordingly, the goal in the afterlife was to return to one’s own family. In the course of time the vision of a brighter and more pleasant afterlife destiny came up and the return to this world was seen as an involuntary interim stage. 86 The voluntary intended rebirth in a chosen existence is not to be interpreted as inferior and the means of achieving it was knowledge (most probably ritualistic) imparted by the priest to the sacrificer.

The dead person reaches the sun and moon (presumably by way of the funeral pyre or sacrificial fire) and his quest for the Brahma world remains unanswered (unless sun and moon are representing the Brahma world here), but he has ‘unrestricted movement’ to go where he wishes (kAmacAra, from the root kam). 14. It is also possible that those who cannot afford a cremation are excluded from having a chance to achieve ‘rebirth according to one’s wish’, as well, but the text does not say so in this passage.

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