Chapter

Making Believers

Robert DeCaroli

in Haunting the Buddha

Published in print October 2004 | ISBN: 9780195168389
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835133 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195168380.003.0003
Making Believers

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After an analysis of the historical periods dealt with in the book and their connections to various relevant textual and artistic forms of evidence, this chapter presents one of the central arguments. Specifically, I claim that Buddhism's interaction with popular religion played a pivotal role in the new faith's expansion and acceptance. By acting as intermediaries between the public and the often capricious whims of local demigods, the Buddhists established a social role for themselves that helped to ensure their continued public support. As evidence of this shift, I have cited or referenced numerous tales and legends featuring encounters between monks and spirit‐deities. And, while these tales are often too fantastic to be used as literal historical sources, the physical evidence provided in the next chapter reveals that they are one part of a larger historical process by which the Buddhists came to associate their beliefs with these pre‐existent deities.

Keywords: Popular Religion; Monks; Legends; Buddhists

Chapter.  10606 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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