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Homa VariationsThe Study of Ritual Change across the Longue Durée$
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Richard K. Payne and Michael Witzel

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199351572

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199351572.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 September 2021

The Ritual Interplay of Fire and Water in Hindu and Buddhist Tantras

The Ritual Interplay of Fire and Water in Hindu and Buddhist Tantras

(p.47) The Ritual Interplay of Fire and Water in Hindu and Buddhist Tantras
Homa Variations
Holly Grether
Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the symbolic relations between fire and water in ritual performances of both Hindu and Buddhist tantric traditions. In one form or another, water appears both before and after fire, thus providing a kind of symbolic framing device. The chapter finds this pairing to be more than coincidental, but rather to constitute a ritual rule, one that applies across the full range of Asian fire rituals, from the Zoroastrian yasna to the homa rituals of Japanese tantric practice. The chapter also touches on themes found in several of the other chapters, those of the internalization of ritual, and of gendered symbolism—fire as masculine and water as feminine. It also argues that in addition to Vedic influences on the creation of tantric homa rites, Zoroastrian ritual practices were also formative.

Keywords:   yasna, homa, ritual rule, fire and water, ritual performance, gendered symbolism

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