Buddhism and Society: A Great Tradition and Its Burmese Vicissitudes

Front Cover
University of California Press, May 27, 1982 - Religion - 510 pages
The current Western interest in Buddhism and other Eastern religions is--among other reasons--both the result of and the stimulation for an entire library of books purporting to bring the Wisdom of the East to an audience for whom the wisdom of the West has failed. This book is not an example of that genre. It is an attempt to interpret Buddhism in the light of some current theories about religion. As a work of scholarship, rather than a homiletic tract or an apologetic treatise, its aim is to understand Buddhism as one historical variant of the generic human attempt to find meaning and hope in a sacred order that transcends the mundane order of existence; its aime is not to encourage or discourage either a devotional or a soteriological interest in Buddhism.
 

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Contents

An Anthropological Problem
3
A Religion of Radical Salvation
31
I A Religion of Proximate Salvation
66
II The Central Concept of Merit
92
Morality
98
The Motivational Salience of Merit
111
Psychological Press and the Neutralization of Karma
120
The Dynamics of Belief in Karma
128
The Forms of Buddhist Ritual Action
199
A Cultic Typology and a Classification of the Buddhist Cultus
206
The Weekly and Monthly Cycles
214
II LifeCycle Rituals
232
Crisis Rituals
255
I The Normative Structure
279
II The Social Structure
305
I Recruitment Structure
321

A Religion of Magical Protection
140
The Theological Basis for Apotropaic Buddhism
147
The Problem of Karma
155
A Religion of Chiliastic Expectations
162
Millennial Buddhism
171
Motives and Functions of Belief
180
Esoteric Buddhism and Burmese Religion
186
Ritual Types and Buddhist Ideological Types
192
II Character Structure
351
The Sangha and the State
378
The Status of the Monkhood in Burmese Society
396
BUDDHISM AND THE WORLD
425
Buddhism and Burmese Society
438
On the Burmese Romanization
479
Index
495
Copyright

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About the author (1982)

Melford Elliot "Mel" Spiro (April 26, 1920 – October 18, 2014) was an American cultural anthropologist specializing in religion and psychological anthropology. 

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