Agedness of Error

Charles Ramble

in The Navel of the Demoness

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780195154146
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199868513 | DOI:
  Agedness of Error

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The title is an evocation of the 17th‐century poet and puritan John Milton's frustration with popular adherence to religious forms that he regarded as being devoid of meaning. This chapter describes and analyses a number of rituals in Te, with particular attention to the Lama Guru, the main annual ceremony. Many of the episodes in this and related ceremonies are relics of activities, recitations, and objects that once had pragmatic (or at least perceived pragmatic) value. An answer to the question of why they should be so meticulously preserved is sought in Krzysztof Pomian's study of collectors and collections, which proposes that the value of such objects lies in their provision of a link with a world that is invisible due to spatial or temporal distance. It is suggested that the “invisible world” in this case is the hypostasised community of Te itself.

Keywords: Milton; ritual; Lama Guru; pragmatic value; Krysztof Pomian; space; time; hypostasised community

Chapter.  10622 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Buddhism

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