The World of Abhiseka: Consecration Rituals in the Buddhist Cultural Sphere

This conference gathers together international scholars of Buddhist studies and Japanese religions in what is perhaps the first international endeavor to address the full range of Japanese consecration rituals from an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective, beyond their standard confinement to Esoteric Buddhist liturgy. It will address Indian consecration rituals that were originally performed to enthrone rulers, followed by the sanctification of priests, emperors, young children, and lay pursuits such as poetry, performing arts, and sexuality in Japan, and concluding with a border-crossing discussion of other initiation ceremonies in the larger Buddhist cultural sphere, such as the tantric rituals of India, China, Tibet, and Mongolia. Through the presentation and discussion of new scholarly work from diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives, as well as from different regional and cultural contexts, this symposium explores the central role of these rituals in the history of Japanese religiosity and culture in general.

The conference papers will be published in a book edited by Fabio Rambelli and Or Porath.