Download PDF by Lawrence A. Babb: Absent Lord: Ascetics and Kings in a Jain Ritual Culture

By Lawrence A. Babb

ISBN-10: 0520203240

ISBN-13: 9780520203242

What does it suggest to worship beings that one believes are thoroughly detached to, and completely past the achieve of, any type of worship whatever? How may the sort of dating with sacred beings impact the spiritual lifetime of a neighborhood? utilizing those questions as his element of departure, Lawrence A. Babb explores the ritual tradition of image-worshipping Svetambar Jains of the western Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan.Jainism lines its lineages again to the 9th century B.C.E. and is, in addition to Buddhism, the one surviving instance of India's historical non-Vedic non secular traditions. it truly is identified and celebrated for its systematic perform of non-violence and for the serious rigor of the asceticism it promotes. a distinct element of Babb's examine is his linking of the Jain culture to the social identification of current Jain communities.Babb concludes via exhibiting that Jain ritual tradition may be visible as a version on pan-Indian ritual styles. In illuminating this little-known non secular culture, he demonstrates that divine "absence" will be as wealthy as divine "presence" in its percentages for informing a non secular reaction to the cosmos.

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Extra resources for Absent Lord: Ascetics and Kings in a Jain Ritual Culture (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society)

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All eating is dangerous; it is at the root of the fatal attachment of the soul to the body and it is also a form of sense enjoyment (see Dundas 1985 on food and the Tirthankars). Moreover, producing and preparing food inevitably result in the sin of violence. For these reasons, fasting is central to the religious praxis of both ascetics and lay Jains (especially women). Nonetheless, ascetics must consume food in order to live. They are forbidden to prepare food (and indeed cannot even ignite the fire to cook it), and therefore ascetics must go on daily (or more) rounds to seek nourishment from lay households.

In addition to monks and nuns, there remain today a very few yati s in the Khartar Gacch. The yati s are ascetics who own property, maintain residence in one place, and are in some instances noncelibate. This institution is today in a state of nearly total desuetude, and has apparently completely disappeared in the Tapa Gacch (Cort 1989: 97-102; Laidlaw 1995: Ch. 3). There are still a few Khartar Gacch yati s—espe-cially, I am told, in Bikaner—but I met only one in Jaipur, an elderly gentleman and a rather sad figure, a vestige of a bygone era.

Lucky is such a pilgrim, and so valuable an opportunity must not be wasted. Arunvijay's main concern is not with proselytizing asceticism. His primary goal is to raise the general level of piety of his lay audience. But the vision he projects is one that places a context around the core values that inform the text of Parsvanath's five-kalyanak puja . Ascetic withdrawal is the central meaning of Parsvanath's last life. The only truly ― 52 ― rational and morally defensible response to this cosmos is the most radical withdrawal from it.

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Absent Lord: Ascetics and Kings in a Jain Ritual Culture (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society) by Lawrence A. Babb

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