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Including analyses by top academics in the field, this book takes a unique look at questions of power and asceticism in the Hindu, Jain and Buddhist traditions of South and Southeast Asia.
Ideas about power and purity in these three traditions are crucially related to ascetic practices.
Paradoxically, asceticism is in these traditions conceived not only as a means of world-renunciation but also as a means of world-transformation.
However, the way in which the conflictual relationship between these two aspects is conceptualized and organized varies historically and regionally and is subject of ongoing religious contests and political negotiations.
This is the first book to provide a comparative analysis of the related traditions and their history in relation to the questions of power and legitimacy throughout contemporary Asia.
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