Homa Variations: The Study of Ritual Change Across the Longue Duree

ISBN : 9780199351589

Richard K. Payne; Michael Witzel
448 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Jan 2016
Oxford Ritual Studies
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The practice of making votive offerings into fire dates from the earliest periods of human history, and is found in many different religious cultures. Throughout the tantric world, this kind of ritual offering practice is known as the homa. With roots in Vedic and Zoroastrian rituals, the tantric homa developed in early medieval India. Since that time it has been transmitted to Central and East Asia by tantric Buddhist practitioners. Today, Hindu forms are also being practiced outside of India as well. Despite this historical and cultural range, the homa retains an identifiable unity of symbolism and ritual form. The essays collected in Homa Variations provide detailed studies of a variety of homa forms, providing an understanding of the history of the homa from its inception up to its use in the present. At the same time, the authors cover a wide range of religious cultures, from India and Nepal to Tibet, China, and Japan. The theoretical focus of the collection is the study of ritual change over long periods of time, and across the boundaries of religious cultures. The identifiable unity of the homa allows for an almost unique opportunity to examine ritual change from such a broad perspective.





Introduction, Richard K. Payne

Symbolic and Comparative Studies

1. The Ritual Interplay of Fire and Water in Hindu and Buddhist Tantras, Holly Grether

2. Buddhist Permutations and Symbolism of Fire, Tadeusz Skorupski

3. The Structure of Japanese Buddhist Homa, Musashi Tachikawa

Textual Studies

4. The Vedic Homa and the Standardization of Hindu Puja, Timothy Lubin

5. Oblation, Non-conception, and Body-Systems of Psychosomatic Fire-oblation in Esoteric Buddhism in Medieval South Asia, Tsunehiko Sugiki

6. The Three Types of Fire Sacrifice According to Kanha'sSricakrasamvara-homavidhi, David B. Gray

7. Fire Rituals by the Queen of Siddhas: The Aparimitayur-homa-vidhi-nama in the Tengyur, Georgios T. Halkias

8. Homa Rituals in the Indian Kalacakratantra Tradition, Vesna A. Wallace

9. Ritual Subjects: Homa in Chinese Translations and Manuals from the Sixth through Eighth Centuries, Charles D. Orzech

Descriptive Studies

10. Newar Buddhist Homa Ritual Traditions, Todd Lewis and Naresh Bajracarya

11. The Navaratra Homa: Liver, Enchantment, and Engendering the Divine "Sakti-s", Nawaraj Chaulagain

12. Fire on the Mountain: The Shugendo Saito Goma, Richard K. Payne

13. Agnihotra Rituals in Nepal, Michael Witzel


About the author: 

Richard K. Payne is Dean and Yehan Numata Professor of Japanese Buddhist Studies at the Institute of Buddhist Studies, Berkeley.; Michael Witzel is Wales Professor of Sanskrit at Harvard University.

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