Methods Essay On Ritual Essay Sample

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Ritual, Practice, Exercise, Religion, Health, People, Japan, Medicine

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2020/12/03

In ancient times, people practiced different rituals some of which have been transported to modern times. According to Smith, in countries like Japan, India and China, the people living there are highly observant to some of the rituals that have been passed down from their ancestors. This paper will examine some the rituals in these countries using both the religionist and reductionism approach (Smith, 2010).It is widely known that the Chinese have fine skills when it comes to kung fu fighting and the skills were purposely passed down from one master to their disciple who then learnt and taught others. Therefore, this paper will examine the ritual of worshiping ancient sages and master. The Duke of Zhou called Chou Kung was being worshiped as the ancient sage while the ancient master worshipped at the time was Confucius (BCE 551-479). Over the years the ritual continued as different dynasties came into place and different ancient sages and masters were put in place of the first two. The ceremony was held twice every year during the spring and the autumn. Different temples and different sacrificial objects are the subjects of standard during these ceremonies.
The names accorded to the sages and the masters included great accomplishers and the grand master. The rituals were aimed at praising their skills and remembering the great polytheist down the line of history. The drinking tea ritual that sometimes dominates the Chinese atmosphere is also in reverence to the ritual. The ancient masters and sages are remembered during these ceremonies and the rituals performed as a reminder of their great deeds as they represented homo symbolicus. The myth of Zhou Gong is supposedly having come up with the 64 hexagrams that are the basis of the rites used in the era of Confucianism. The masters and the sages are viewed in religionist as religious subjects and objects who are taught to be mysterium fascinans. Through the rituals, the people got closer to the god as t provided a channel for initiating contact as they were seen as a source of monotheist. The other rites of the rituals included welcoming major guests where the acts performed by the masters were quoted. The need to appease evil spirits was also one of the rites that were performed under the ritual and were done in a (Yoshida, 2002)
India is a country widely known for its adherence to different rituals. However, a ritual that has received widespread critics is the “MadeySnana” also referred to as the Spit Bath that is practiced in only one state in the country. The ritual is sometimes called bizarre as the Indians from the lower caste have to roll on the remains of the food eaten by those people from the upper caste. Yoshida states that the ritual takes place three days yearly where over 3,500 people calling themselves devotees to the ritual participate in the ritual. From a religionist point of view, the ritual is something of value (Yoshida, 2002). This is a form of offering where the act is as a sign of offering to god or monotheist. The haraki is the term used for the practice of rolling down on the banana leaves where the Brahmins took their food. In the past, the Dalits had to roll down on the left over’s to present cases of skin diseases among them. The Haraki is held as a feast of comprising of the Champa and Shashti. The role of the Dalits is to roll on the leftovers (Kavadi, 2013). Many The significance of the left over’s is in the ritual performed by the temple priest who ensures that he sprinkles holy water on the banana leaves and then leaves a coconut for the deity as a form of sacrifice. Therefore, to the Dalits, the view this a as practice that helps them prevent skin diseases as was the legend of samba who was able to be healed from leprosy after he rolled on the leftovers of food consumed by his devotees. The irony of this is that the Dalits associate their ritual as profane and state that if it is banned, then they will not agree to take part in any other event that will take place in the temple at any time of the year. However, according to Kavadi, when viewed from the reductionism, this practice is viewed as backwards and as a form of religious discourse that is not practical in the current times (Kavadi, 2013). Many people say that the practice is barbaric and should be banned due to its seemingly discriminatory approach against the poor members of the society. The practice is based on the poor acting as devotees to the upper chaste individuals in the society. As a result, the human activists have been calling for the banning of these rituals. However, it is ironic that the issue is not with the upper chaste individuals, but the lower chaste ones who always protest against the banning of the ritual. According to the Dalits, the practice is has a cultural construction of meaning and do not want the practice to be banned for any particular reason. Kavadi, 2013 states that cases of activists being beaten dup as they try to speak out against the religious subject have been reported as the locals fought to retain the cultural imperialism. Therefore, the rituals will still take place every year with the low chaste persons rolling on leftovers with the belief that they are preventing skin diseases despite many viewing it as a religion of the status quo. They argued that if they are not allowed to practice their ancestral tradition, they will not take part in any of the events scheduled at the temples. In fact, there was also an activist that was beaten up for protesting against the practice and that had caused the local authorities to lift the ban, the Dalits refused terming the practice as a polytheist.
The ritual of diagnosis in Japan is as practice that aims to identify and cure the symptoms caused by spirits. From a religious discourse, the Japanese believed that ghosts and spirits possessed people and as a result, they went mad or had strange eyes and in some other cases talk things were not understandable. Different spirits were claimed to cause some of these illnesses and as a result, one needed to consult old ladies who were claimed to have answers to most of the ailments resulting from spirit possession symbolizing ontology. The rites that were performed to cure such illnesses included reciting the sutra, religious trainings and water austerities. All these were claimed to be cures for the different diagnosis of spirit illnesses when done in sui generis. The mediums are the ones who performed these training and communicated with the spirits as was widely practiced in Shingu as they acted as a part of the sui generis.
The biases that I have possibly brought to these rituals come from the fact that I am a hierophany observing what happens in other people’s culture. It is only when one is from that particular culture that they get to see it as it is. According to Sato, all comes down to understanding the importance of each ritual and the value placed upon it by those practicing them (Sato, 2011). Personally, I do not see the sense in someone rolling on left over’s with the belief that they are working on prevention of diseases while they are actually increasing their chances of getting ill. Therefore, if someone from an inside perspective viewed these rituals, then maybe they would have a clear understanding of their importance and they contribute to the betterment of their lives as well as its theist.


Kavadi, T. V (2013).MadeySnana (Spit Bath) - Indian Rolling In Scrap Food Ritual. Indian
Timesretrived from <
Sato, N. (2011). The Initiation of the Religious Specialists kamisan: A Few Observations. In:
Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, No. 8 (3-4), pp. 149-186.
Smith, B. (2010). Buddhism and Abortion in Contemporary Japan: Mizukokuyo and the
Confrontation with Death. In: Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 15 (1). p.18.
Turner, V. (2010).On the Edge of the Bush.Anthropology as Experience. Tucson, p. 41.
Yoshida, T. (2002). The stranger as god: The place of the outsider in Chinese folk religion. In:
Ethnology, 1981, No. 20 (2), pp.87-99).

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