By David Germano, Kevin Trainor
Examines the perform of relic veneration in a number of types of Buddhism.
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Additional info for Embodying the Dharma: Buddhist Relic Veneration in Asia
27. For an overview of Theravada biographical tradition about Maha\kassapa, see G. P. Malalasekera, Dictionary of Pali Proper Names (1937; reprinted, Delhi: Oriental Books Reprint Corporation, 1983), 2:476–83. He is also profiled in Thera Nyanaponika and Hellmuth Hecker, Great Disciples of the Buddha (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1997), 107–36. Maha\kassapa is also counted as the first in the succession of Indian Zen patriarchs. 28. For a survey of the aniconic controversy in Buddhist studies, see Klemens Karlsson, Face to Face with the Absent Buddha: The Formation of Buddhist Aniconic Art (Uppsala: Uppsala University Library, 1999).
The first of these he characterizes as magical or instrumentalist, the second as cosmological, and the third as ontological. On the first level direct contact with the Buddha during his lifetime or later through his material signs brings worldly blessings and increases one’s store of merit. On a second level the Buddha’s presence organizes a cosmic order centered on the sacred mountain. On a third level the material signs of the Buddha transcend the limits of historical time and serve as the Buddha’s living presence.
With this in mind, let us return to Palestine and to Paula who, after she left Jerusalem, went on to Bethlehem. There, of course, she visited the site of Christ’s nativity. ’” There she was granted a vision: “with the eye of faith . . she saw a child wrapped in swaddling clothes, weeping in the Lord’s manger, the Magi worshipping, the star shining above, the Virgin Mother, the attentive fosterfather, and the shepherds coming by night to see this Word which had come to pass, . . the Word [that] was made flesh.