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Séminaire « Anthropologie comparée du bouddhisme » (2017-18) Ritualités bouddhiques

Séminaire « Anthropologie comparée du bouddhisme » (2017-18) Ritualités bouddhiques

Séance inaugurale du séminaire - 13 octobre 2017, au 54 bd Raspail, salle 737 de 9h30 à 12h30

John Clifford HOLT, Rituals across Buddhist Cultures: challenges, virtues and methods, 

Pour la séance inaugurale du séminaire cette année, nous aurons le plaisir d'accueillir ∗

John Clifford HOLT,
Professor of Humanities in Religion and Asian Studies
au Bowdoin College (Brunswick, Maine, USA),

pour une conférence intitulée :

Rituals across Buddhist Cultures: challenges, virtues and methods

le 13 octobre 2017, au 54 bd Raspail, salle 737 de 9h30 à 12h30,

conférence qui sera l'occasion de revenir sur son dernier ouvrage :
Buddhist Traditions: Ritual Cultures in Contemporary Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka
(University of Hawai'i Press, 2017).

Résumé : My paper begins with a general discussion about how and why we can compare ritual
expressions across a number of historically related religious cultures, especially the value of
comparison within the context of Theravada Buddhist inflected religious cultures in Sri Lanka and
Southeast Asia. Among other assertions about why this method is worth pursuing, my fundamental
argument will be: while ascertaining that similarity is an obvious by-product of comparative
inquiry, determining difference is actually its most important outcome insofar as it helps us to
understand more exactly, without some of the perils of reduction, what may be distinctive about
each given ritual articulation. Following Jonathan Z. Smith, I will contend that focusing primarily
on similarity leads to host of insurmountable interpretive difficulties. On the other hand,
comparison that illuminates difference constitutes a method that can yield a more nuanced and
context-based rendering. To illustrate my basic point, I will note in particular how kathina, the
Buddhist monastic rite of robe investiture, has been imagined within the canonical Vinayapitaka,
before further comparing in general the nature of its performance in Sinhala, Khmer and Lao
contexts, in juxtaposition to a contemporary urban Burmese performance. The further interpretive
pay off of this particular comparative exercise yields an understanding not limited to the ritual
context of kathina per se, but also allows us to advance an empirically-based observation about the
defining importance of dana (giving) for Burmese religious culture.
Extrait du chapitre sur les rituels de kathina : http://bit.ly/2wttbAy
Dossier Dropbox1 : http://bit.ly/PCfbbS

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