En Fr



  • Centre d'Etudes Himalayennes
    UPR 299 - CNRS
  • Campus Condorcet
  • 2, cours des Humanités
  • 93322 Aubervilliers Cedex
  • France
  • Tel : 01 88 12 11 03
  • himalaya[at]
  • Venir nous voir
  • Intranet

Accueil > À noter > Activités

Séminaire "Anthropologie comparée du bouddhisme" : Ritualités bouddhiques

La prochaine séance, sur le thème "Rituels pour célébrer ou honorer des maîtres", aura lieu le 22 décembre 2017.


Lieu : 54 bd Raspail, 75006 Paris, salle 737, de 9h30 à 12h30.

Organisateurs : N. Sihlé (CNRS-CEH), B. Brac de la Perrière (CASE-EHESS-CNRS)

Rituels pour célébrer ou honorer des maîtres

Résumés des interventions

Alexander Horstmann (U. de Tallinn, Estonie) : The prosperous ascetic : staging authority in northern Thai/Burmese Buddhist saints’ birthday ceremonies.

In the borderland of Thailand, Myanmar, China and Laos there is a new generation of Buddhist saints who are at the center of the revitalization of Theravada Buddhism or a type of it that I like to call charismatic capitalism. Branding themselves as Buddhist savior-kings, bodhisattva and monument builders, thousands of devotees from the region as well as from the Bangkok metropolis attend the birthday ceremony of these saints. During such a ceremony, saintliness is sanctified by the Khuba’s alleged redistribution of the acquired wealth to Buddhism.

Based on the cases of Khuba Saengla in Tachileik, Khuba Boonchum in Muang Pong, and Khuba Ariyachart in northern Thailand, this talk will focus on the strategies and aspirations in the reproduction of charisma (in Thai : baramee) and authority (also : authenticity). It will explore the deep ties, exchanges, activities and transactions of the Buddhist saints with their diverse faith communities—other influential monks, wealthy urban business and political elite, the Bangkok middle class as well as impoverished highland communities—to mobilize donations and people’s faith (in Thai : sattha) to construct monumental religious buildings.

The talk offers a comprehensive and detailed description of the public ritual staged to celebrate the master on the day of his birthday—including the place of mass mediated images. The ritual is part of a cyclical ritualization and ritual celebration of monks, including the Offering of the new robes to the monk and the bathing of the monk at New Year. The birthday ceremony is part of the cosmology of Theravada Buddhism in the Tai-speaking Mekong region, but has been transformed into spectacular consumption of ordinary Buddhist rituals. The birthday ceremony of the saint also has connections and similarities to a pilgrimage and raises expectations of healing and prosperity from the saint’s followers. The talk will also discuss tensions arising from the proximity or distance of different saints to the Sangha as well as to centers of political power.

Elizabeth Williams-Oerberg (U. de Copenhague) : “The Rockstar Monk with a mission” : The millennial celebration of Naropa and his modern reincarnation (Ladakh, northern India).

In September 2016, the northwest Indian Himalayan region of Ladakh witnessed Naropa 2016 : the ‘Kumbh Mela of the Himalayas’ and the largest Buddhist festival in the history of Ladakh. The Naropa festival, held every 12 years, is centered around a ritual of revealing six-bone ornaments said to have been worn upon the moment of enlightenment by the Mahasiddha Naropa, an 11th century Indian scholar-saint. The Gyalwang Drukpa Rinpoche, head of the Drukpa Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism and revered as a reincarnation of Naropa, dons these ornaments in an elaborate ritual, a ritual said to cause “liberation upon sight”. The Naropa 2016 festival, while still centered on this ritual, was also transformed into “a carnival of spirituality, beauty, culture, sights and sounds” with “a touch of sportsmanship, tradition, modernization and compassion” according to the Naropa festival website ( Additional entertainment elements were included in the festival, such as an archery competition, fashion show, world class magic show, a 3D video projection in the Himalayas (first of its kind in the world), a debate on the modernization of Buddhism, local cultural performances, performances by the Kung Fu nuns, and rock concerts by renowned Bollywood celebrities. At the center of the entire 8-day festival was Drukpa Rinpoche, heralded as a Buddhist leader of the modern world- a “rockstar monk with a mission” as one Indian news agency reports. This presentation takes a closer look at the transformation of the Naropa festival into spectacle and celebration of this charismatic and modern-day leader of Drukpa Kagyu followers worldwide. The global influence of Drukpa Rinpoche and his efforts to revitalize Buddhism, while lauded by many, are not unambiguously welcomed. Throughout the presentation we take a closer look at how this “rockstar monk” attempts to enact these transformations, as well as how they are perceived by Ladakhis, revealing a complex web of influence, networks and visions for Buddhism in 21st century Ladakh.
Pour toutes questions, contacter Nicolas Sihlé : nicolas.sihle [at]
Programme des séances pour l’année 2017-2018