Chapter

Introduction

Charles Ramble

in The Navel of the Demoness

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780195154146
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199868513 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195154146.003.0001
 Introduction

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The original aim of the research that led to this book was to explore the confrontation between Buddhism and Himalayan “pagan” religion, based on the sacrificial cult of territorial gods. It was hypothesised that such a study might shed light on the interaction between Buddhism and indigenous religion in early Tibet. When this hypothesis was found to be misleadingly simple, the inquiry shifted to the way in which both Buddhism and pagan religion were just two components of a complex “civil religion,” revealed by the history of the community, its social institutions, and the dialectical relationship between the individual and the collective. The theoretical position adopted here is essentially a Durkheimian perspective as modified by authors such as Berger and Luckmann. A discussion of the concept of civil religion and the main literature on the subject is followed by an outline of the book's chapters.

Keywords: Buddhism; Himalayas; Tibet; pagan religion; civil religion; Durkheim; Berger; Luckmann

Chapter.  8653 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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