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The Realm Of The Spirits

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Chapter Summary

Religion, that is, is multi-faceted and fundamental to social life. Three writers, (Fürer-Haimendorf, Dollfus and Samuel) suggest three distinct ways in which the religious or supernatural may be concerned with wider social and moral processes in Tibetan societies. Fürer-Haimendorf and Ortner concentrate on the moral content of Buddhism and the symbolism of its rites and deities. Indeed, Ortner has been criticised for over-interpreting her material in line with Buddhist doctrine (Ramble 1980). Samuel's analysis of the complexities of religious forms in Tibet finds cultural patterns in an array of religious practices. Dollfus and other writers on Ladakh focus on the structures of the spirit realm. The authors' own thesis, however, is that neither the moral order of Buddhism nor the realm of the spirits is related to the moral and political order of the village.

Keywords: Buddhism; Dollfus; evil spirits; Fürer-Haimendorf; Ladakh; Samuel; spirits realm; Tibetan religions



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