Homa in Chinese Translations and Manuals from the Sixth through Eighth Centuries
This chapter demonstrates the ongoing relation between India and China, in which changes to the practice of the homa in China are the consequence of developments in India. Although mentioned earlier, in conjunction with image consecration, the homa is described in detail around the end of the sixth century. It is then only in the middle of the next century that forms comparable to contemporary homas—including for example evocations of Agni and the summoning and enthronement of deities in a maṇ ḍala—make their first appearance. More fully developed forms were introduced by Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra in the eighth century. This chapter also examines key differences in the social context of the ritual in China and Japan, indicating that the use of the homa in the two was actually significantly different. The theoretical issue it addresses following the historical inquiry is the role of ritual practice in subject formation.
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