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Accueil > Séminaires et enseignements > Séminaire "Anthropologie comparée du bouddhisme" > Séminaire "Anthropologie comparée du bouddhisme 2016-2020

"Comparative anthropology of Buddhism" seminar, 2018-19


Buddhist Ritualities

Organised by B. Brac de la Perrière (CASE-EHESS-CNRS), N. Sihlé (CNRS-CEH)

The seminar operates on the principle of a monthly session on a Friday each month, from 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m., and will be held at 54 boulevard Raspail, Paris, 6th arrondissement.

This year, the seminar will take up the theme of comparing rituals in Buddhist societies by delving deeper into them based on original or already published ethnographies. The comparison will revolve around two poles, Theravāda Buddhism (especially Burmese) on the one hand, and Mahāyāna Buddhism (especially Tibetan) on the other. From a comparative anthropological perspective, taking an interest in rituals in the Buddhist world raises questions regarding typology, analysis of ritual configurations and of place in a ritual field, or regarding the characteristics (specific to regional / national or more shared traditions) of Buddhist ritualities : principles of effectiveness, forms of socio-religious anchoring, privileged ritual forms, etc. More broadly speaking, it will be a question each time of relaunching existing debates on the theory of ritual. A key dimension of the analysis will be the systematic engagement in a comparative approach : the different sessions, mainly devoted to the study of the major categories of collective Buddhist rituals, will systematically oppose practices, emic and etic categories and interpretations received in the fields of Theravāda and Mahāyāna.
Sessions (room number in brackets :)
5 October (651) : The ritual : anthropological theories, Buddhist and Asian notions of the ritual

23 November (651) : Space and time of the ritual : place of the religious, calendars

7 December (651) : Donation and ethics of the lay Buddhist in the collective ritual context

11 January (651) : Rituals of the institution of Buddhist monasticism

1st February (551) : Other community rituals in practice settings

15 March (551) : Rituals to celebrate or honour masters

12 April (737) : Life-cycle rituals

10 May (737) : Collective death management rituals

7 June (751) : State rituals / rituals to renew the socio-cosmic order

A choice of reading (some of which is compulsory for students who have enrolled) can be found in the following Dropbox file (subfolder "2018-19_seminaire_Ritualites2") :

As a precautionary measure, we also encourage you to check the room number before each class :


Download programme for 2018-19 (in French)