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Flügel, Peter (2019) 'Narrative Paradigms for Jaina Mortuary Rituals: Mythologies of the Worship of the Relics of the Jinas by the Gods in Jaina Universal Histories.' In: Flügel, Peter, (ed.), Jaina Narratives. London: Routledge. (Routledge Advances in Jaina Studies 8) (Forthcoming)

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Jaina doctrine unequivocally rejects the worship of material objects. Considering the mythical passages on the post-funerary veneration of the bone relics of the Jinas by the gods in the canonical Rāyapaseṇaijja, and of the cremation of the first Jina Usabha (Ṛṣabha) and the disposal of his remains by the gods in Jambuddīvapannatti, Jīvājīvābhigama and Bhadrabāhu’s Āvassaya Nijjutti, which have all been placed in the middle or late canonical period, W. Schubring nevertheless concluded that these “most certainly followed earthly examples” and that “cremation … was the rule”, which is equally said “of the Tīrthaṅkaras”. If Schubring was right, then the practice of cremating the discarded bodies of ascetics, performed by householders, and perhaps entombment of bone relics, was either introduced in the middle-canonical period, not too long after the composition of the later Cheya Suttas or, though less likely, always existed side by side with the monastic custom of simply abandoning the corpse. The later Jaina purāṇas, or universal histories, reiterate the canonical narratives of the veneration of relics by the gods. The paper will address the problem of interpreting these early texts in the light of the archaeological evidence and earlier Buddhist and brāhmaṇical accounts.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jaina, Narratives, Stūpa, Relics, Literature, Āvassaya Nijjutti, Jambuddīvapannatti, Jīvājīvābhigama, Rāyapaseṇaijja,
SOAS Departments & Centres: School Research Centres > Centre of Jaina Studies
Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of Religions & Philosophies
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
P Language and Literature
ISBN: 9781138186101
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2018 12:23

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