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Buddhist pilgrimage and the ritual ecology of sacred sites in the Indo-Gangetic region

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journal contribution
posted on 05.07.2021, 02:29 by D Geary, Kiran Shinde
In contemporary India and Nepal, Buddhist pilgrimage spaces constitute a ritual ecology. Not only is pilgrimage a form of ritual practice that is central to placemaking and the construction of a Buddhist sacred geography, but the actions of religious adherents at sacred centers also involve a rich and diverse set of ritual observances and performances. Drawing on ethnographic research, this paper examines how the material and corporeal aspects of Buddhist ritual contribute to the distinctive religious sense of place that reinforce the memory of the Buddha’s life and the historical ties to the Indian subcontinent. It is found that at most Buddhist sites, pilgrim groups mostly travel with their own monks, nuns, and guides from their respective countries who facilitate devotion and reside in the monasteries and guest houses affiliated with their national community. Despite the differences across national, cultural–linguistic, and sectarian lines, the ritual practices associated with pilgrimage speak to certain patterns of religious motivation and behavior that contribute to a sense of shared identity that plays an important role in how Buddhists imagine themselves as part of a translocal religion in a globalizing age.

History

Publication Date

01/06/2021

Journal

Religions

Volume

12

Issue

6

Article Number

385

Pagination

(p. 1-21)

Publisher

MDPI

ISSN

2077-1444

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The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.

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