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date: 12 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of the general substantive, formal, and social characteristics of that diverse assemblage of practices, objects, and actors identified as magical within contemporary Buddhist religious cultures. After critically reflecting on the concept of “magic,” the chapter first rethinks and re-describes the substantive character, social uses, and cultural idioms of Buddhist magic against the grain of scholarly discourses about religion and magic. The chapter then reviews changing academic approaches to the study of magic by Buddhist scholars. Finally, it explores some of the debates about magic in contemporary Asian societies and how these are embedded in social, economic, and political developments, which have transformed not only understandings of Buddhism but also the organization, practice, and consumption of activities defined as magical in the modern era.

Keywords: Buddhism, culture, magic, religion, contemporary Asian

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