Thursday, June 28, 2012

[Research] Visitors from Lao Hell

An interesting article has cropped up at the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute by Patrice Ladwig entitled "Visitors from hell: transformative hospitality to ghosts in a Lao Buddhist festival."

While I don't have access to the journal, for those of you who do, I'd say check it out and let the rest of us know what you think of it.

However, the abstract reads as:

"In Lao Buddhism, each year during the ghost festival, disembodied and hideous spectres are believed to be released from hell and enter the world of the living. This crossing of an ontological boundary, and the subsequent interaction of humans and ghosts, can be understood as a process of establishing hospitality in which both guest and host are transformed. The hospitality encounter can here simultaneously trigger an ontological shift of the ghost's position in Buddhist cosmology, but also contribute to the ethical self-cultivation of humans as hosts. Ghosts as guests can escape hell, receive a new body, and re-enter the cycle of reincarnations, while humans can practise a Buddhist ethics of hospitality based on the confrontation with a horrifying and pitiful species of beings."

Sounds like a great read!

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