Read e-book online Imagining Karma: Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, PDF

By Gananath Obeyesekere

With Imagining Karma, Gananath Obeyesekere embarks at the first actual comparability of rebirth recommendations throughout a variety of cultures. Exploring in wealthy aspect the ideals of small-scale societies of West Africa, Melanesia, conventional Siberia, Canada, and the northwest coast of North the US, Obeyesekere compares their rules with these of the traditional and glossy Indic civilizations and with the Greek rebirth theories of Pythagoras, Empedocles, Pindar, and Plato. His groundbreaking and authoritative dialogue decenters the preferred suggestion that India was once the beginning and locus of principles of rebirth. As Obeyesekere compares responses to the main basic questions of human lifestyles, he demanding situations readers to reexamine authorised rules approximately dying, cosmology, morality, and eschatology. Obeyesekere's complete inquiry exhibits that assorted societies have come via self sufficient invention or borrowing to think in reincarnation as an essential component in their higher cosmological platforms. the writer brings jointly right into a coherent methodological framework the concept of such varied thinkers as Weber, Wittgenstein, and Nietzsche. In a latest highbrow context that celebrates distinction and cultural relativism, this ebook makes a case for disciplined comparability, a humane view of human nature, and a theoretical figuring out of ''family resemblances'' and ameliorations throughout nice cultural divides. eleven line illustrations

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The parentheses indicate a few basic and expectable features one might want to add to this model. All substantive differences in empirically existent rebirth eschatologies have to be worked around this model although these empirical variations are also finite and could also be presented topographically, as I will do after I have described actual cases. For the moment let me merely affirm that several finite topographical models of rebirth theories could be constructed on the basis of the elementary form.

It is the case that scholars must make do with what they have; it is absurd to expect them to deal with data that have vanished out of existence! Yet valid as this argument may seem, it does pose a problem when it concerns the question of origins: one cannot construct the origins or history of a particular set of beliefs in a linear fashion from a body of data or a tradition of beliefs that could not possibly have had that linear quality at all. To situate the issue in terms of the question of 14 Karma and Rebirth in Indic Religions rebirth beliefs: these ideas could have come from a variety of sources, including popular culture.

That excuse for a prince asked me five questions and I didn’t know the answer to a single one of them” (BKhad. 3). Gautama is more open-minded and decides to go to the king himself, announcing that he is coming as his pupil, an unusual action for a famous Brahmanic sage. ”16 For present purposes let me refer to the first and the last fires: A fire—that is what the world up there is, Gautama. Its firewood is the sun; its smoke is the sunbeams; its flame is the day; its embers are the quarters; and its sparks are the intermediate quarters.

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