Guardians of the Transcendent: An Ethnography of a Jjain Ascetic Community (Anthropological Horizons) (Hardcover)

Guardians of the Transcendent: An Ethnography of a Jjain Ascetic Community (Anthropological Horizons) By Anne Vallely Cover Image

Guardians of the Transcendent: An Ethnography of a Jjain Ascetic Community (Anthropological Horizons) (Hardcover)

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Itinerant white-robed ascetics represent the highest ethical ideal among the Jains of rural Rajasthan. They renounce family, belongings, and desires in order to lead lives of complete non-violence. In their communities, Jain ascetics play key roles as teachers and exemplars of the truth; they are embodiments of the lokottar - the realm of the transcendent.

Based on thirteen months of fieldwork in the town of Ladnun, Rajasthan, India, among a community of Terapanthi Svetambar Jains, this book explores the many facets of what constitutes a moral life within the Terapanthi ascetic community, and examines the central role ascetics play in upholding the Jain moral order. Focussing on the Terapanthi moral universe from the perspective of female renouncers, Vallely considers how Terapanthi Jain women create their own ascetic subjectivities, and how they construct and understand themselves as symbols of renunciation. The first in-depth ethnographic study of this important and influential Jain tradition, this work makes a significant contribution to Jain studies, comparative religion, Indian studies, and the anthropology of South Asian religion.

Product Details ISBN: 9780802035455
ISBN-10: 0802035450
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Publication Date: November 30th, 2002
Pages: 320
Language: English
Series: Anthropological Horizons