Religion and the Subtle Body in Asia and the West

Author: Geoffrey Samuel
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1136766405
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Subtle-body practices are found particularly in Indian, Indo-Tibetan and East Asian societies, but have become increasingly familiar in Western societies, especially through the various healing and yogic techniques and exercises associated with them. This book explores subtle-body practices from a variety of perspectives, and includes both studies of these practices in Asian and Western contexts. The book discusses how subtle-body practices assume a quasi-material level of human existence that is intermediate between conventional concepts of body and mind. Often, this level is conceived of in terms of an invisible structure of channels, associated with the human body, through which flows of quasi-material substance take place. Contributors look at how subtle-body concepts form the basic explanatory structure for a wide range of practices. These include forms of healing, modes of exercise and martial arts as well as religious practices aimed at the refinement and transformation of the human mindbody complex. By highlighting how subtle-body practices of many kinds have been introduced into Western societies in recent years, the book explores the possibilities for new models of understanding which these concepts open up. It is a useful contribution to studies on Asian Religion and Philosophy.

Religion and Illness

Author: Annette Weissenrieder
Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers
ISBN: 1498293514
Format: PDF, Kindle
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What are the relevant conceptualities and terminologies marking the coupling of religion and medical interpretations of illness in different religions such as Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity? How do religious orientations influence courses of a disease? How do experiences of illness change images of the divine in late modernity? This collection of essays from a symposium held at the International Research Institute of the University of Heidelberg examines connections between religious and medical interpretations of illness in different cultures in order to suggest criteria for coupling religion and medicine in ways that enhance rather than diminish life. By discerning which relationships between religion and medicine appear to be beneficial and which harmful, the book as a whole proposes criteria that are not limited to a single scientific approach, cultural tradition, or time period (such as the present). The book has four parts, which deal with Islamic medicine, Chinese medicine, and the relationship between religion and medicine in both Jewish and Christian traditions. All chapters cover from antiquity to the present.

Objects of Worship in South Asian Religions

Author: Knut A. Jacobsen
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317675940
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Objects of worship are an aspect of the material dimension of lived religion in South Asia. The omnipresence of these objects and their use is a theme which cuts across the religious traditions in the pluralistic religious culture of the region. Divine power becomes manifest in the objects and for the devotees they may represent power regardless of religious identity. This book looks at how objects of worship dominate the religious landscape of South Asia, and in what ways they are of significance not just from religious perspectives but also for the social life of the region. The contributions to the book show how these objects are shaped by traditions of religious aesthetics and have become conceptual devices woven into webs of religious and social meaning. They demonstrate how the objects have a social relationship with those who use them, sometimes even treated as being alive. The book discusses how devotees relate to such objects in a number of ways, and even if the objects belong to various traditions they may attract people from different communities and can also be contested in various ways. By analysing the specific qualities that make objects eligible for a status and identity as living objects of worship, the book contributes to an understanding of the central significance of these objects in the religious and social life of South Asia. It will be of interest to students and scholars of Religious Studies and South Asian Religion, Culture and Society.

Asian Religions Technology and Science

Author: István Keul
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317674472
Format: PDF, Docs
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Over the past five decades, the field of religion-and-science scholarship has experienced a considerable expansion. This volume explores the historical and contemporary perspectives of the relationship between religion, technology and science with a focus on South and East Asia. These three areas are not seen as monolithic entities, but as discursive fields embedded in dynamic processes of cultural exchange and transformation. Bridging these arenas of knowledge and practice traditionally seen as distinct and disconnected, the book reflects on the ways of exploring the various dimensions of their interconnection. Through its various chapters, the collection provides an examination of the use of modern scientific concepts in the theologies of new religious organizations, and challenges the traditional notions of space by Western scientific conceptions in the 19th century. It looks at the synthesis of ritual elements and medical treatment in China and India, and at new funeral practices in Japan. It discusses the intersections between contemporary Western Buddhism, modern technology, and global culture, and goes on to look at women’s rights in contemporary Pakistani media. Using case studies grounded in carefully delineated temporal and regional frameworks, chapters are grouped in two sections; one on religion and science, and another on religion and technology. Illustrating the manifold perspectives and the potential for further research and discussion, this book is an important contribution to the studies of Asian Religion, Science and Technology, and Religion and Philosophy.

Yoga in Transformation

Author: Karl Baier
Publisher: V&R unipress GmbH
ISBN: 3737008620
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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This volume explores aspects of yoga over a period of about 2500 years. In its first part, it investigates facets of the South Asian and Tibetan traditions of yoga, such as the evolution of posture practice, the relationship between yoga and sex, yoga in the theistic context, the influence of Buddhism on early yoga, and the encounter of Islam with classical yoga. The second part addresses aspects of modern globalised yoga and its historical formation, as for example the emergence of yoga in Viennese occultism, the integration of yoga and nature cure in modern India, the eventisation of yoga in a global setting, and the development of Patañjali’s iconography. In keeping with the current trend in yoga studies, the emphasis of the volume is on the practice of yoga and its theoretical underpinnings.

Making Sense of the Secular

Author: Ranjan Ghosh
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1136277218
Format: PDF, Kindle
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This book offers a wide range of critical perspectives on how secularism unfolds and has been made sense of across Europe and Asia. The book evaluates secularism as it exists today – its formations and discontents within contemporary discourses of power, terror, religion and cosmopolitanism – and the focus on these two continents gives critical attention to recent political and cultural developments where secularism and multiculturalism have impinged in deeply problematical ways, raising bristling ideological debates within the functioning of modern state bureaucracies. Examining issues as controversial as the state of Islam in Europe and China’s encounters with religion, secularism, and modernization provides incisive and broader perspectives on how we negotiate secularism within the contemporary threats of terrorism and other forms of fundamentalism and state-politics. However, amidst the discussions of various versions of secularism in different countries and cultural contexts, this book also raises several other issues relevant to the antitheocratic and theocratic alike, such as: Is secularism is merely a nonreligious establishment? Is secularism a kind of cultural war? How is it related to "terror"? The book at once makes sense of secularism across cultural, religious, and national borders and puts several relevant issues on the anvil for further investigations and understanding.

Ritual Embodiment in Modern Western Magic

Author: Damon Zacharias Lycourinos
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1351329952
Format: PDF, Docs
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In the Western world, magic has often functioned as an umbrella term for various religious beliefs and ritual practices that seek to influence events by harnessing supernatural power. The definition of these myriad occult and esoteric traditions have, however, usually come from those that are opposed to its practice; notably authorities in religious, legal and intellectual spheres. This book seeks to provide a new perspective, directly from the practitioners of modern Western magic, by exploring how a distinctive mode of embodiment and consciousness can produce a transition from an ‘ordinary’ to a ‘magical’ worldview. Starting with an introduction to the study of magic in the Western academy, the book then presents the author’s own participant observation of five ethnographic case studies of modern Western magic. The focus of these ethnographic case studies is directed towards ideas and methods the informants employ to self-legitimise and self-represent as ‘magicians’. It concludes by discussing the phenomenological implications and issues around embodiment that are inherent to the contemporary practice of magic. This is a unique insight into the lived experience of practitioners of modern magic. As such, it will be of keen interest to scholars of the Occult and New Religious Movements, as well as Religious Studies academics examining issues around the embodiment and the anthropology of religion.

Sufi Political Thought

Author: Milad Milani
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317660005
Format: PDF
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Sufism is generally perceived as being spiritually focused and about the development of the self. However, Sufi orders have been involved historically as important civic and political actors in the Muslim world, having participated extensively in inter-faith dialogue and political challenges to religious orthodoxy. This book presents a comprehensive overview of the Sufi political tradition, both historically and in its present form. It outlines how Sufi thought has developed, examines how Sufism has been presented both by scholars and by Sufis themselves, and considers Sufis’ active political roles. It argues that Sufis – frequently well educated, well travelled and imaginative – have been well placed to engage with other faiths and absorb their ideas into Islam; but that they have also been, because they understand other faiths, well placed to understand the distinctiveness of Islam, and thereby act as the guardians of Islam’s core ideas and values.

Tantric Buddhist Practice in India

Author: Anthony Tribe
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317230841
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Using a commentary on the influential text, the Mañjuśrī-nāmasaṃgīti, ‘The Chanting of the Names of Mañjuśrī’, this book deals with Buddhist tantric meditation practice and its doctrinal context in early-medieval India. The commentary was written by the 8th-9th century Indian tantric scholar Vilāsavajra, and the book contains a translation of the first five chapters. The translation is extensively annotated, and accompanied by introductions as well as a critical edition of the Sanskrit text based on eight Sanskrit manuscripts and two blockprint editions of the commentary’s Tibetan translation. The commentary interprets its root text within an elaborate framework of tantric visualisation and meditation that is based on an expanded form of the Buddhist Yoga Tantra mandala, the Vajradhātu-maṇḍala. At its heart is the figure of Mañjuśrī, no longer the familiar bodhisattva of wisdom, but now the embodiment of the awakened non-dual gnosis that underlies all Buddhas as well their activity in the cosmos. The book contributes to our understanding of the history of Indian tantric Buddhism in a period of significant change and innovation. With its extensively annotated translation and lengthy introductions the book is designed to appeal not only to professional scholars and research students but also to contemporary Buddhists.

Urban Marginalisation in South Asia

Author: Nandini Sen
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1351124048
Format: PDF, Docs
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The community of waste pickers in Calcutta stands on its own against the hostile outside which comprises the state, elites and mainstream society. The residents of this unique world continuously try to escape the ‘ideal’ world of uniform homogeneity of legally legitimate profession, shelter, sanitation, education, healthcare, savings, credit and cultural activities of the mainstream. This book examines the lives and society of a marginalised urban community of waste pickers living within the city of Calcutta, and yet on the periphery of mainstream society. Through interpretive ethnography of the studied community focusing on ideological marginalisation, as distinct from economic marginalisation, the book studies the community and their world. It uniquely presents a volume of work in the field of ideological or socio-cultural marginalisation: showing how and why socio-cultural marginalisation is expressed through the daily experiences of material and emotional dilapidation, and physical and socio-cultural seclusion as experienced by the waste picking community in Calcutta. It provides an extensive and intimate discourse on the decay of the soul and mind, breakdown of the interpersonal and neighbourhood ties through the mediation of the biased state, mainstream and elite policies attached with the defamed peripheral regions of the city. It argues that ideological marginalisation represents alternative resistance to exploitation through silent defiance, non-participation and non-cooperation by the marginalised people with mainstream society, state and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). It concludes that there is a large scope for studying the negotiation skills of waste pickers/marginalised people in terms of their business with their retailers which help them attain some economic returns, although they still lack social capital, networking skills and human capital. Presenting exciting new ethnography against the background of important theoretical concepts, the book initiates a dialogue about options for a change in the situation of these marginalised people vis-à-vis the state, elites and mainstream society. It will be of interest to an interdisciplinary audience in the fields of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Urban Studies, Development Studies, Urban Sociology and South Asian Studies.