The Jaina Cult of Relic Stūpas

in Numen
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Abstract

This article gives an overview of recent findings on the thriving cult of bone relic stūpas in contemporary Jaina culture. Although Jaina doctrine rejects the worship of material objects, fieldwork in India on the hitherto unstudied current Jaina mortuary rituals furnished clear evidence for the ubiquity of bone relic stūpas and relic veneration across the Jaina sectarian spectrum. The article discusses a representative case and assesses the significance of the overall findings for the history of religions. It also offers a new theoretical explanation of the power of relics.

Numen

International Review for the History of Religions

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