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The Cursing Practice in Sri Lanka as a Religious Channel for Keeping Physical Violence in Control

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This study deals with the cursing services in Sinhala Buddhism in Sri Lanka which some gods offer to the people. The author, who is using the mimesis and scapegoat mechanism theory of Girard as a point of reference, concentrates on the god Devol in the hamlet of Seenigama on the south-west coast. Why do people ask gods to harm or even kill their adversaries? Why is cursing on the increase in the country, and how does Buddhism, a religion preaching "ahimsa" (non-violence), cope with the cursing practices? The author dissociates himself from the idea of some writers, that cursing is identical to black magic. Cursing is certainly a form of violence, but because it stops at one incident, without triggering endless cycles, it can traditionally be seen as a religious channel for violence, that helps to keep it in control, according to the author.

10.1163/156852197X00033
/content/journals/10.1163/156852197x00033
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/content/journals/10.1163/156852197x00033
1997-01-01
2016-09-30

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