Narratives of Hospitality and Feeding in Tibetan Ritual
Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2013
Pages: 491 - 515
Source ID: shanti-sources-97431
Collection: Himalayan and Tibetan Medicine
Abstract: This article proposes that many Tibetan rituals are shaped by a language of creating, giving, and eating food. Drawing on a range of premodern texts and observation of a week-long Accomplishing Medicine (sman sgrub) ritual based on those texts, we explore ritualized food interactions from a narrative perspective. Through the creation, offering, and consumption of food, ritual participants, including Buddhas, deities, and other unseen beings, create and maintain variant identities and relationships with each other. Using a ritual tradition that crosses religious and medical domains in Tibet, we examine how food and eating honors, constructs, and maintains an appropriate and spatiotemporally situated community order with a gastronomic contract familiar to all participants.