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Introduction To Buddhism Beyond The Monastery

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Chapter Summary

Tibetan religions, including Buddhism and Bon, have been profoundly shaped by the institutional influence of monasticism-the congregation of ordained monks and nuns who support a sole religious tradition according to a cenobitic (communal), eremitic (isolated), or peripatetic (itinerant) lifestyle. Buddhist monasticism is widely popular not only in Tibetan society, but also in the culturally akin societies along the Himalayan belt. Despite its prominent role, monasticism is not the only religious manifestation in Tibetan society. Next to monastic life and activities, a variety of lay or non-celibate movements, communities, traditions, lineages, and religious practices have emerged in Tibet and the Himalayas. A form of social and religious authority particularly important outside of Buddhist monasticism within Tibetan lay communities is that of 'spirit mediums', or lha pa. The chapter also presents an overview of the book and how the other chapters of the book are organized.

Keywords: Bon; Buddhist monasticism; Himalayas; spirit medium; Tibetan religions



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