Buddhist Rituals of Death and Rebirth

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.

Buddhist Rituals of Death and Rebirth

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.

Tibetan Rituals of Death

This book describes and analyses the structure and performance of Tibetan Buddhist death rituals, and situates that performance within the wider context of Buddhist death practices generally.

Tibetan Rituals of Death

This book describes and analyses the structure and performance of Tibetan Buddhist death rituals, and situates that performance within the wider context of Buddhist death practices generally. Drawing on a detailed and systematic comparative survey of existing records of Tibetan funerary practices, including historical travel accounts, anthropological and ethnographic literature, Tibetan texts and academic studies, it demonstrates that there is no standard form of funeral in Tibetan Buddhism, although certain elements are common. The structure of the book follows the twin trajectories of benefiting the deceased and protecting survivors; in the process, it reveals a rich and complex panoply of activities, some handled by religious professionals and others by lay persons. This information is examined to identify similarities and differences in practices, and the degree to which Tibetan Buddhist funeral practices are consistent with the mortuary rituals of other forms of Buddhism. A number of elements in these death rites which at first appear to be unique to Tibetan Buddhism may only be ‘Tibetan’ in their surface characteristics, while having roots in practices which pre-date the transmission of Buddhism to Tibet. Filling a gap in the existing literature on Tibetan Buddhism, this book poses research challenges that will engage future scholars in the field of Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism and Anthropology.

Buddhist Death Rituals in Fujian

The research presented here is more like a snapshot or survey of contemporary Buddhist rituals and practices for the dead in Southeast China than an in depth anthropological analysis; my hope is, through this overview, to provide ...

Buddhist Death Rituals in Fujian

This thesis examines Buddhist rituals conducted (mainly) by monks for the wellbeing of deceased lay-persons in contemporary Fujian province in Southeast China. Research was conducted within the Bristol project on 'Buddhist Death Rituals in Southeast Asia and China' and sponsored by the AHRC. Based on fieldwork conducted from March-December 2008 in the three urban areas of Xiamen and Quanzhou in Southern Fujian, and the capital Fuzhou in Northern Fujian, and on written materials, such as Buddhist scriptures, monastic public announcements and ritual manuals, I describe and analyse a variety of post-burial rites. They range from small scale rites of offering to nourish and help the deceased during the liminal period of forty-nine days after death and rebirth, to one-to-three day funeral chaodu 'rites of ferrying across' sending off the departed to a better rebirth, ideally held before the end of the forty-nine days liminal period, to the large-scale public rituals of universal liberation held during the so-called 'Ghost Month' and the crown of Buddhist rituals the shuilu fahui or 'Grand Dharma Assembly of Liberation of all Land and Water Beings' .. The research presented here is more like a snapshot or survey of contemporary Buddhist rituals and practices for the dead in Southeast China than an in depth anthropological analysis; my hope is, through this overview, to provide inspiration and basic material for future research.

Peaceful Death Joyful Rebirth

Tulku Thondup wrote this guide to help us heal our fear and confusion about death and strengthen our practice in anticipation of this transition, and to help us realize the enlightened goal of ultimate peace and joy—not only for death and ...

Peaceful Death  Joyful Rebirth

Buddhist teachings on facing death with openness and insight, from the author of The Healing Power of Mind—now in paperback. Buddhism teaches that death can be a springboard to enlightenment—yet for all but the most advanced meditators, it will be the gateway to countless future lives of suffering in samsara. Tulku Thondup wrote this guide to help us heal our fear and confusion about death and strengthen our practice in anticipation of this transition, and to help us realize the enlightened goal of ultimate peace and joy—not only for death and rebirth, but for this very lifetime. In simple language, he distills a vast range of sources, including scriptures, classic commentaries, oral teachings, and firsthand accounts. The book includes: • A downloadable audio program of guided meditations (URL provided in the book) • An overview of the dying process, the after-death bardo states, and teachings on why, where, and how we take rebirth • Accounts by Tibetan "near-death experiencers" (delogs), who returned from death with amazing reports of their visions • Ways to train our minds during life, so that at death, all the phenomena before us will arise as a world of peace, joy, and enlightenment • Simple meditations, prayers, and rituals to benefit the dead and dying • Advice for caregivers, helpers, and survivors of the dying The paperback edition links to a downloadable audio program providing guided instructions by the author on how to visualize Amitabha Buddha in the Pure Realm; how to receive his blessings; how to visualize transforming your body into light and sound at the time of death; how to share the blessings with compassion for all sentient beings; and how to rest in oneness. By becoming intimate with this practice while we're alive, we can alleviate our fear of death, improve our appreciation of this life, and prepare for death in a very practical way, while planting the seeds for rebirth in the Pure Land.

Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China

The current volume brings together a range of perspectives on Buddhist death rituals including ethnographic, textual, historical and theoretically informed accounts, and presents the diversity of the Buddhist funeral cultures of mainland ...

Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China

"The centrality of death rituals has in anthropologically informed studies of Buddhism been little documented. The current volume brings together a range of perspectives on Buddhist death rituals including ethnographic, textual, historical and theoretically informed accounts, and presents the diversity of the Buddhist funeral cultures of mainland Southeast Asia and China. It arises out of the University of Bristol's Centre for Buddhist Studies research project Buddhist Death Rituals in Southeast Asia and China, funded by the United Kingdom's Arts and Humanities Research Council. This project involved extensive new research in Thailand, Laos and China. Other items from that project included several public exhibitions, extensive stills photographs, and several video films. The project-team produced two 30 minutes films on the ghost festival in Laos and China, one on urban funerals in Chiang Mai (Thailand) and several shorter clips dealing with funeral cultures in Laos, Thailand and China. Most of this material (and an extensive bibliography on the topic) is available free of charge from the project website located at the webpage of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies (Centre for Buddhist Studies) at the University of Bristol"--

The Buddhist Dead

In its teachings, practices and institutions, Buddhism in its varied Asian forms is centrally concerned with death and the dead.

The Buddhist Dead

In its teachings, practices and institutions, Buddhism in its varied Asian forms is centrally concerned with death and the dead. This title offers a comparative investigation of this topic across the major Buddhist cultures of India, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, Tibet and Burma.

Death and the Afterlife in Japanese Buddhism

The nine essays in this volume, ranging chronologically from the tenth century to the present, bring to light both continuity and change in death practices over time.

Death and the Afterlife in Japanese Buddhism

For more than a thousand years, Buddhism has dominated Japanese death rituals and concepts of the afterlife. The nine essays in this volume, ranging chronologically from the tenth century to the present, bring to light both continuity and change in death practices over time. They also explore the interrelated issues of how Buddhist death rites have addressed individual concerns about the afterlife while also filling social and institutional needs and how Buddhist death-related practices have assimilated and refigured elements from other traditions, bringing together disparate, even conflicting, ideas about the dead, their postmortem fate, and what constitutes normative Buddhist practice. The idea that death, ritually managed, can mediate an escape from deluded rebirth is treated in the first two essays. Sarah Horton traces the development in Heian Japan (794–1185) of images depicting the Buddha Amida descending to welcome devotees at the moment of death, while Jacqueline Stone analyzes the crucial role of monks who attended the dying as religious guides. Even while stressing themes of impermanence and non-attachment, Buddhist death rites worked to encourage the maintenance of emotional bonds with the deceased and, in so doing, helped structure the social world of the living. This theme is explored in the next four essays. Brian Ruppert examines the roles of relic worship in strengthening family lineage and political power; Mark Blum investigates the controversial issue of religious suicide to rejoin one’s teacher in the Pure Land; and Hank Glassman analyzes how late medieval rites for women who died in pregnancy and childbirth both reflected and helped shape changing gender norms. The rise of standardized funerals in Japan’s early modern period forms the subject of the chapter by Duncan Williams, who shows how the Soto Zen sect took the lead in establishing itself in rural communities by incorporating local religious culture into its death rites. The final three chapters deal with contemporary funerary and mortuary practices and the controversies surrounding them. Mariko Walter uncovers a "deep structure" informing Japanese Buddhist funerals across sectarian lines—a structure whose meaning, she argues, persists despite competition from a thriving secular funeral industry. Stephen Covell examines debates over the practice of conferring posthumous Buddhist names on the deceased and the threat posed to traditional Buddhist temples by changing ideas about funerals and the afterlife. Finally, George Tanabe shows how contemporary Buddhist sectarian intellectuals attempt to resolve conflicts between normative doctrine and on-the-ground funerary practice, and concludes that human affection for the deceased will always win out over the demands of orthodoxy. Death and the Afterlife in Japanese Buddhism constitutes a major step toward understanding how Buddhism in Japan has forged and retained its hold on death-related thought and practice, providing one of the most detailed and comprehensive accounts of the topic to date. Contributors: Mark L. Blum, Stephen G. Covell, Hank Glassman, Sarah Johanna Horton, Brian O. Ruppert, Jacqueline I. Stone, George J. Tanabe, Jr., Mariko Namba Walter, Duncan Ryuken Williams.

Buddhism

Using the new C3 Framework for Social Studies Standards, these books explore the six most popular world religions through the lenses of History, Geography, Civics, and Economics.

Buddhism

Using the new C3 Framework for Social Studies Standards, these books explore the six most popular world religions through the lenses of History, Geography, Civics, and Economics. In Buddhism, the text and photos look at the history, basic philosophies, and geography of this religion, as well as how it relates to society today. As they read, students will develop questions about the text, and use evidence from a variety of sources in order to form conclusions. Data-focused backmatter is included, as well as a bibliography, glossary, and index.

Transnational Death

In Thailand, having a calm, peaceful, and pure mind at the moment of death is crucial for a happy rebirth because it takes ... The management, veneration, and crematory rites of a Buddhist death are articulated in Buddhist literary and ...

Transnational Death

With so much of the global population living on the move, away from their homelands, and in diasporic communities, death and mourning practices are inevitably impacted. Transnational Death brings together eleven cutting-edge articles from the emerging field of transnational death studies. By highlighting European, Asian, North American, and Middle Eastern perspectives, the collection provides timely and fresh analysis and reflection on people’s changing experiences with death in the context of migration over time. First beginning with a thematic assessment of the field of transnational death studies, readers then have the opportunity to delve into case studies that examine experiences with death and mourning at a distance from the viewpoints of Family, Community, and Commemoration. The chapters highlight complicated issues confronting migrants, their families, and communities, including: negotiations of burial preferences and challenges of corpse repatriation; the financial costs of providing end-of-life care, travel at times of death, and arranging culturally appropriate funerals and religious services; as well as the emotional and sociocultural weight of mourning and commemoration from afar. Overall, Transnational Death provides new insights on identity and belonging, community reciprocity, transnational communication, and spaces of mourning and commemoration.

Death and Bereavement Across Cultures

All societies have their own customs and beliefs surrounding death. This handbook explains how to offer appropriate and sensitive support to those from other cultures who are dying or bereaved.

Death and Bereavement Across Cultures

All societies have their own customs and beliefs surrounding death. In the West, traditional ways of mourning are disappearing, and though science has had a major impact on views of death, it has taught us little about the way to die or to grieve. Many who come into contact with the dying and the bereaved from other cultures are at a loss to know how to offer appropriate and sensitive support. Death and Bereavement Across Cultures, provides a handbook with which to meet the needs of doctors, nurses, social workers, counsellors and others involved in the care of the dying and bereaved. Written by international authorities in the field, this important text: * describes the rituals and beliefs of major world religions * explains their psychological and historical context * shows how customs change on contact with the West * considers the implications for the future This book explores the richness of mourning traditions around the world with the aim of increasing the understanding which we all bring to the issue of death.

Rituals and Practices in World Religions

In some countries, a newborn is taken to a Buddhist temple for blessing on an auspicious new or full moon day. In some traditions in Tibet and China, the 49 day period between death and rebirth is a time for ceremonies to encourage a ...

Rituals and Practices in World Religions

This book codifies, describes, and contextualizes group rituals and individual practices from world religious traditions. At the interface of religious studies, psychology, and medicine, it elucidates the cultural richness of practices and rituals from numerous world religions. The book begins by discussing the role that religious rituals and practices may play in the well-being of humans and the multi-dimensional cultural and psychological complexity of religious rituals and practices. It then discusses rituals and practices within a number of religions, including Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist, Taoist, Sikh, Hindu, Confucian, and other traditions. There is a need for a more inclusive collection of religious rituals and practices, as some practices are making headlines in contemporary society. Mindfulness is one of the fastest-growing psychological interventions in healthcare and Yoga is now practiced by tens of millions of people in the U.S.A. These practices have been examined in thousands of academic publications spanning neuroscience, psychology, medicine, sociology, and religious studies. While Mindfulness and Yoga have recently received widespread scientific and cultural attention, many rituals and practices from world religious traditions have remained underexplored in scholarly, scientific, and clinical contexts. This book brings more diverse rituals and practices into this academic discourse while providing a reference guide for clinicians and students of the topic.

Taming Time Timing Death

Departing from a persisting current in Western thought, which conceives of time in the abstract, and often reflects upon death as occupying a space at life's margins, this book begins from position that it is in fact through the material ...

Taming Time  Timing Death

Departing from a persisting current in Western thought, which conceives of time in the abstract, and often reflects upon death as occupying a space at life's margins, this book begins from position that it is in fact through the material and perishable world that we experience time. As such, it is with death and our encounters with it, that form the basis of human conceptions of time. Presenting rich, interdisciplinary empirical studies of death rituals and practices across the globe, from the US and Europe, Asia, The Middle East, Australasia and Africa, Taming Time, Timing Death explores the manner in which social technologies and rituals have been and are implemented to avoid, delay or embrace death, or communicate with the dead, thus informing and manifesting humans' understanding of time. It will therefore be of interest to scholars and students of anthropology, philosophy, sociology and social theory, human geography and religion.

Death and Bereavement Across Cultures

This book explores the richness of mourning traditions around the world with the aim of increasing the sensitivity and understanding which we all bring to the issue of death and bereavement.

Death and Bereavement Across Cultures

All societies have their own customs and beliefs surrounding death. In the West, traditional ways of mourning are disappearing, and although Western science has had a major impact on how people die, it has taught us little about the way to die or to grieve. Many whose work brings them into contact with the dying and the bereaved from Western and other cultures are at a loss to know how to offer appropriate and sensitive support. Death and Bereavement Across Cultures 2nd Edition is a handbook which meets the needs of doctors, nurses, social workers, hospital chaplains, counsellors and volunteers caring for patients with life-threatening illness and their families before and after bereavement. It is a practical guide explaining the religious and other differences commonly met with in multi-cultural societies when someone is dying or bereaved. In doing so readers may be surprised to find how much we can learn from other cultures about our own attitudes and assumptions about death. Written by international experts in the field the book: Describes the rituals and beliefs of major world religions; Explains their psychological and historical context; Shows how customs are changed by contact with the West; Considers the implications for the future The second edition includes new chapters that: explore how members of the health care professions perform roles formerly conducted by priests and shamans can cross the cultural gaps between different cultures and religions; consider the relevance of attitudes and assumptions about death for our understanding of religious and nationalist extremism and its consequences; discuss the Buddhist, Islamic and Christian ways of death. Death raises questions which science cannot answer. Whatever our personal beliefs we can all gain from learning how others view these ultimate problems. This book explores the richness of mourning traditions around the world with the aim of increasing the sensitivity and understanding which we all bring to the issue of death and bereavement.

Thirteen Buddhas

In this groundbreaking study, Steven.J.Hutchins draws on years of research to trace their historical development and interpret their hidden meanings and symbolism.

Thirteen Buddhas

The Thirteen Buddha Rites are a series of funeral rites and premortem offerings made to thirteen Buddhist deities on specific dates that have become strongly affiliated with the Shingon sect of Esoteric Buddhism. In this groundbreaking study, Steven.J.Hutchins draws on years of research to trace their historical development and interpret their hidden meanings and symbolism.

Understanding Death

This book is a welcome addition to the literature on death and dying.” Amir Hussain, Loyola Marymount University and Editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Understanding Death

A comprehensive survey of how religions understand death, dying, and the afterlife, drawing on examples from Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Shamanic perspectives. Considers shared and differing views of death across the world’s major religions, including on the nature of death itself, the reasons for it, the identity of those who die, religious rituals, and on how the living should respond to death Places emphasis on the varying concepts of the ‘self’ or soul Uses a thematic structure to facilitate a broader comparative understanding Written in an accessible style to appeal to an undergraduate audience, it fills major gap in current textbook literature

Deathpower

Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Cambodia, Erik W. Davis radically reorients approaches toward the nature of Southeast Asian Buddhism's interactions with local religious practice and, by extension, reorients our understanding ...

Deathpower

Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Cambodia, Erik W. Davis radically reorients approaches toward the nature of Southeast Asian Buddhism's interactions with local religious practice and, by extension, reorients our understanding of Buddhism itself. Through a vivid study of contemporary Cambodian Buddhist funeral rites, he reveals the powerfully integrative role monks play as they care for the dead and negotiate the interplay of non-Buddhist spirits and formal Buddhist customs. Buddhist monks perform funeral rituals rooted in the embodied practices of Khmer rice farmers and the social hierarchies of Khmer culture. The monks' realization of death underwrites key components of the Cambodian social imagination: the distinction between wild death and celibate life, the forest and the field, and moral and immoral forms of power. By connecting the performative aspects of Buddhist death rituals to Cambodian history and everyday life, Davis undermines the theory that Buddhism and rural belief systems necessarily oppose each other. Instead, he shows Cambodian Buddhism to be a robust tradition with ethical and popular components extending throughout Khmer society.

Tibetan Rituals of Death

moment of death until the deceased is reborn. I would argue that the translation is not helpful, since the word 'purgatory' is heavily loaded with Christian associations which distort the meaning of the original Buddhist term.

Tibetan Rituals of Death

This book describes and analyses the structure and performance of Tibetan Buddhist death rituals, and situates that performance within the wider context of Buddhist death practices generally. Drawing on a detailed and systematic comparative survey of existing records of Tibetan funerary practices, including historical travel accounts, anthropological and ethnographic literature, Tibetan texts and academic studies, it demonstrates that there is no standard form of funeral in Tibetan Buddhism, although certain elements are common. The structure of the book follows the twin trajectories of benefiting the deceased and protecting survivors; in the process, it reveals a rich and complex panoply of activities, some handled by religious professionals and others by lay persons. This information is examined to identify similarities and differences in practices, and the degree to which Tibetan Buddhist funeral practices are consistent with the mortuary rituals of other forms of Buddhism. A number of elements in these death rites which at first appear to be unique to Tibetan Buddhism may only be ‘Tibetan’ in their surface characteristics, while having roots in practices which pre-date the transmission of Buddhism to Tibet. Filling a gap in the existing literature on Tibetan Buddhism, this book poses research challenges that will engage future scholars in the field of Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism and Anthropology.

The Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Practice

Buddhist Stairways to Heaven,” UC Berkeley and Harvard, 2016. 103. Stone, Right Thoughts at the Last Moment, 16. Stone relies on Langer's Buddhist Rituals of Death and Rebirth. 104. Punnadhammo, Buddhist Cosmos, 341. 105.

The Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Practice

"This Handbook provides a state-of-the-art exploration of several key dynamics in current studies of the Buddhist tradition with a focus on practice. Embodiment, materiality, emotion, and gender shape the way most Buddhists engage with their traditions, in contrast to popular representations of Buddhism as spiritual, disembodied, and largely devoid of ritual. This volume highlights how practice often represents a fluid, dynamic, and strategic means of defining identity and negotiating the challenges of everyday life. Essays explore the transformational aims of practices that require practitioners to move, gesture, and emote in prescribed ways, including the ways that scholars' own embodied practices are integral to their research methodology. The chapters are written by acknowledged experts in their respective subject areas and taken together offer an overview of current thinking in the field. The volume is of particular value to scholars who seek an orientation to current perspectives on important conceptual, theoretical, and methodological concerns that are shaping the field in areas outside their primary expertise. The inclusion of substantial, up-to-date bibliographies also makes the volume an important guide to current scholarship"--

Subject to Death

With Subject to Death, Desjarlais provides an intimate, philosophical account of death and mourning practices among Hyolmo Buddhists, an ethnically Tibetan Buddhist people from Nepal.

Subject to Death

If any anthropologist living today can illuminate our dim understanding of death’s enigma, it is Robert Desjarlais. With Subject to Death, Desjarlais provides an intimate, philosophical account of death and mourning practices among Hyolmo Buddhists, an ethnically Tibetan Buddhist people from Nepal. He studies the death preparations of the Hyolmo, their specific rituals of grieving, and the practices they use to heal the psychological trauma of loss. Desjarlais’s research marks a major advance in the ethnographic study of death, dying, and grief, one with broad implications. Ethnologically nuanced, beautifully written, and twenty-five years in the making, Subject to Death is an insightful study of how fundamental aspects of human existence—identity, memory, agency, longing, bodiliness—are enacted and eventually dissolved through social and communicative practices.

Studying Buddhism in Practice

A good example for this marginal treatment of death rituals is R. Gombrich, Buddhist Precept and Practice: ... Her publications include Buddhist Rituals of Death and Rebirth: A Study of Contemporary Sri Lankan Practice and Its Origins ...

Studying Buddhism in Practice

This book introduces the rich realities of the Buddhist tradition and the academic approaches through which they are studied. Based on personal experiences of Buddhism on the ground, it provides a reflective context within which religious practices can be understood and appreciated. The engaging narratives cover a broad range of Buddhist countries and traditions, drawing on fieldwork to explore topics such as ordination, pilgrimage, funerals, gender roles, and film-making. All the entries provide valuable contextual discussion and are accompanied by photographs and suggestions for further reading.