Modalities of Doing Religion

Adam Yuet Chau

in Chinese Religious Life

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199731398
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199914487 | DOI:
Modalities of Doing Religion

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This chapter presents a model for understanding religious practice in Chinese culture by means of five modalities: the discursive or scriptural, based on the composition and use of religious texts; the personal‐cultivational, involving a long‐term interest in cultivating and transforming oneself; the liturgical, which makes use of procedures conducted by priests, monks or other ritual specialists; the immediate‐practical, aiming at quick results making use of using religious or magical techniques; and the relational, emphasizing the relationship between humans, deities, ghosts, and ancestors as well as among people in families, villages, and religious communities. These five modalities cut across different religious traditions and may be applied to the anthropological study of Buddhism, Daoism, folk religion, Islam, Christianity, or Confucianism.

Keywords: modality; religion; spirituality; ritual; magic; anthropology of religion

Chapter.  7645 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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