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Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China

$47.99 (C)

Patrice Ladwig, Paul Williams, Rita Langer, Erik W. Davis, M. L. Pattaratorn Chirapravati, Vanina Bouté, Alexandra de Mersan, François Robinne, Bernard Formoso, Ingmar Heise, Yik Fai Tam, Frederick Shih-Chung Chen
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  • Date Published: March 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107667877

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About the Authors
  • The centrality of death rituals has rarely been documented in anthropologically informed studies of Buddhism. Bringing together a range of perspectives including ethnographic, textual, historical and theoretically informed accounts, this edited volume presents the diversity of the Buddhist funeral cultures of mainland Southeast Asia and China. While the contributions show that the ideas and ritual practices related to death are continuously transformed in local contexts through political and social changes, they also highlight the continuities of funeral cultures. The studies are based on long-term fieldwork and covering material from Theravāda Buddhism in Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and various regions of Chinese Buddhism, both on the mainland and in the Southeast Asian diasporas. Topics such as bad death, the feeding of ghosts, pollution through death, and the ritual regeneration of life show how Buddhist cultures deal with death as a universal phenomenon of human culture.

    • Includes first-hand accounts of Buddhist ritual practices, for a detailed and accurate report
    • Focussed on death, one of the most important rites of passage in a Southeast Asian and Chinese context
    • Explores how Buddhism is actually practised within different Southeast Asian cultures, giving a precise picture of how rituals vary by area
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "… offers a carefully arranged selection of pieces on Buddhist funerary practices from Burma, Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and Sri Lanka … [Its] greatest strength is surely the level of substantive ethnographic detail it provides for a potentially overlooked area of Buddhist life in East and Southeast Asia, fleshed out through the implicit connections between chapters … will be mainly of interest to students of Buddhism, and primarily those working in Chinese or Theravadin contexts …"
    Callum Pearce, Mortality

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107667877
    • length: 312 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • contains: 5 b/w illus. 4 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Buddhist funeral cultures of Southeast Asia and China Patrice Ladwig and Paul Williams
    2. Chanting as 'bricolage technique': a comparison of South and Southeast Asian funeral recitation Rita Langer
    3. Weaving life out of death: the craft of the rag robe in Cambodian ritual technology Erik W. Davis
    4. Corpses and cloth: illustrations of the pasukūla ceremony in Thai manuscripts M. L. Pattaratorn Chirapravati
    5. Good death, bad death and ritual restructurings: the New Year ceremonies of the Phunoy in northern Laos Vanina Bouté
    6. Feeding the dead: ghosts, materiality and merit in a Lao Buddhist festival for the deceased Patrice Ladwig
    7. Funeral rituals, bad death and the protection of social space among the Arakanese (Burma) Alexandra de Mersan
    8. Theatre of death and rebirth: monks' funerals in Burma François Robinne
    9. From bones to ashes: the Teochiu management of bad death in China and overseas Bernard Formoso
    10. For Buddhas, families and ghosts: the transformation of the Ghost Festival into a Dharma assembly in southeast China Ingmar Heise
    11. Xianghua foshi (incense and flower Buddhist rites): a local Buddhist funeral ritual tradition in southeastern China Yik Fai Tam
    12. Buddhist passports to the other world: a study of modern and early medieval Chinese Buddhist mortuary documents Frederick Shih-Chung Chen.

  • Editors

    Paul Williams, University of Bristol
    Paul Williams is Emeritus Professor of Indian and Tibetan Philosophy and founding co-director of the Centre for Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol. He is author of Mahāyāna Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations, 2nd edition (2009), The Reflexive Nature of Awareness: A Tibetan Madhyamaka Defence (1998), Altruism and Reality: Studies in the Philosophy of Bodhicaryāvatāra (1998), The Unexpected Way: On Converting from Buddhism to Catholicism (2001) and Songs of Love, Poems of Sadness: The Erotic Verse of the Sixth Dalai Lama (2004). He is co-author, with Anthony Tribe, of Buddhist Thought: A Complete Introduction to the Indian Tradition, 2nd edition (2012) and was sole editor of the eight-volume series Buddhism: Critical Concepts in Religious Studies (2005).

    Patrice Ladwig, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany
    Patrice Ladwig is research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (Halle, Germany) where he works in a research group focusing on historical anthropology. He has published articles in the fields of anthropology, Asian studies and Buddhist studies. He is currently finalizing a monograph entitled Revolutionaries and Reformers in Lao Buddhism and working on an edited volume on Buddhist socialism.

    Contributors

    Patrice Ladwig, Paul Williams, Rita Langer, Erik W. Davis, M. L. Pattaratorn Chirapravati, Vanina Bouté, Alexandra de Mersan, François Robinne, Bernard Formoso, Ingmar Heise, Yik Fai Tam, Frederick Shih-Chung Chen

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